Human-Computer Interaction: Communication, Cooperation, and Application Design

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

The Link between Data and Tasks - the Crucial Challenge in Designing User Interfaces for Information Retrieval Systems

Kurt Englmeier ifo Institute for Economic Research, Poschingerstr. 5, 81679 München, Germany, Email: fapsy@diwsysv.diw-berlin.de


1 Motivation

When people describe navigation in the Web they usually reach for a spider. Information scientists are more and more partial to ants. In fact, we also incline to the metaphor based on the ants' system for communicating information. "When you look at people dealing with any kind of information system, you realise that each person's decisions - those he or she makes in the course of getting to the right information - are essentially lost to the rest of the world." ( Kantor 1998) Navigating the Web should allow people to leave pointers for those who might follow their footsteps. The outlined approach focuses on a highly interactive environment to assist the users by presenting these maps as a co-ordinate system that enables them a clear orientation during the retrieval process.


2 The Rationale of the Four-Level Architecture

Most of the current available IR systems do not foresee a formal or explicit description of the databases they access to. Such a description (like a schema of a database) is often favourable for users dealing with factual documents for enabling very precise queries. The lack of this trait is actually a major drawback in the huge collection available on the Web. And worse, search engines often give the users links that are completely out of the context the users have in mind. Nevertheless we have to design a framework of orientation to get hold of this drawback.

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