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User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search

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Presented by Duane Degler, Design for Context, at the NFAIS 2019 Annual Conference in Alexandria, VA, on February 14, 2019.

Semantic search seeks to enhance the meaning in content, to more closely align the searcher and the available information resources. This means there is a strong user-centered aspect needed to unlock the benefits. What scenarios, needs, experiences, and mental models do our user bring to their search task? How does that inform our modeling of the “meaning” derived from the content? How do we avoid encoding rigidity of meaning by creating learning opportunities for both the users and the underlying search index and algorithms?

As we model content, we recognize that its character, structure, and context all matter. Alongside strategies for incorporating taxonomies and indexing the content itself, we will explore how you can prepare a knowledge graph that increases the potential for aligning meaning between your content and your users.

On the user experience side, we will introduce design approaches such as supporting iteration for exploratory search, modeling a language landscape, applying user context identification, creating feedback loops based on results selection and use, and using visual signposting for lightweight semantics in the user interface.

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User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search

  1. 1. Duane Degler duane@designforcontext.com @ddegler NFAIS • February 14, 2019 slides posted at: designforcontext.com/insights User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search
  2. 2. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 ● Semantic search seeks to identify “meaning” in content, to more closely align the searcher and the available information resources. This means there is a strong user-centered aspect needed to unlock the benefits. ● What scenarios, needs, experiences, and mental models do our user bring to search? ● How does that inform our modeling of the “meaning” derived from the content? ● How do we avoid encoding rigidity of meaning? ● As we model content, we recognize that its character, structure, and context all matter. ● How can you prepare a knowledge graph that increases the potential for aligning meaning between your content and your users? Focus: User Relationships to Content/Terminology 2
  3. 3. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Semantic search seeks to enhance the meaning in content, to more closely align the searcher and the available information resources. This means there is a strong user-centered aspect needed to unlock the benefits. UNDERSTANDING OUR USERS 3
  4. 4. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 ● User and content attributes ● Mental models ● The roles of semantics ● Related links and personalization Where are Semantics Useful? 4 USER FOCUS
  5. 5. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Users: ● Highly motivated ● Knowledgeable ● Longer search experiences Content: ● Documents are larger ● Hard to know what is relevant ● More subjects covered ● Lots of repeated information User and Content Attributes 5 USER FOCUS
  6. 6. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 User Mental Models: Experience & Need 6 USER FOCUS REFINE Formulate Seek Evaluate Review KEEP Archival REFINE Formulate Seek Evaluate ReviewSurvey Exploratory REFINE Formulate Evaluate Review USE/KEEP Seek Targeted REFINE Formulate Seek Evaluate Review KEEPUSE Collaborative REFINE Formulate Seek Evaluate Review USE/KEEP Routine REFINE Formulate Seek Evaluate Review KEEP Duane Degler. Designing the Next Generation of Search User Experience. June 2015. http://www.designforcontext.com/insights/designing-next-generation-search-user-experience
  7. 7. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 ● A user’s task has its own language ● The task (an element of user context) shifts perception of what matters in content ● Do our sites and content need to respond to tasks? ● If users are clear on the relationship between information and task, then their focus on the information subjects should be sufficient ● They draw meaning based on their context ● But… in dense information environments, users may need help Does “Meaning” Include “Context”? 7 USER FOCUS
  8. 8. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 ● Is your internal search a first stop, a next step, or a last resort? ● Consider the users’ journeys – path analysis ● Consider the semantics of your site, not just your search ● Language (navigation, links, headings) sets expectations of relevance ● Roles ● Focusing search ● Providing pathways in browse ● Building relationship structures ● Allowing integration The Roles of Semantics 8 USER FOCUS
  9. 9. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Interacting with Terminology in Search 9 USER FOCUS
  10. 10. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Interacting with Terminology in Search 10 USER FOCUS
  11. 11. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Capturing decisions/use (Governance) 11 USER FOCUS Duane Degler. Understanding How Content Is Used in Enterprise Settings. March 2016. http://www.designforcontext.com/insights/understanding-content-use Capturing user actions as system annotations allows content, classification, and system actions to coexist and be analyzed together
  12. 12. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 SITUATION SIGNALS SITUATIONSIGNALS Location Co-occurring events Date / time Conditions Devices / connectivity SITUATION SIGNALS USERSIGNALS Usage patterns Experience Interests / profile History Community CONTENTSIGNALS Link relationships Text patterns Categories / keywords Metadata TASKSIGNALS Outcomes / goals Rules / requirements Criticality Sequence / status Frequency for user Related Links & Personalization: Context Signals 12 USER FOCUS Degler (2013). Supporting Relevance for Users: A Design Challenge http://www.designforcontext.com/insights/supporting-relevance-for-users “Things, not Strings”
  13. 13. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 As we model content, we recognize that its character, structure, and context all matter. UNDERSTANDING OUR CONTENT & LANGUAGE 13
  14. 14. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 ● Search navigation ● Term relationships ● Content navigation Where are Semantics Useful? 14 CONTENT/LANGUAGE
  15. 15. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Neighborhoods
  16. 16. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Browse Pathways Your semantics map the road network
  17. 17. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Term Relationships 17 CONTENT/LANGUAGE All my content is about this – and I want it to show up in search! Cellular interactions Cell adhesion Cell communication Cell signaling Notch signaling Receptor signaling Signal transduction Signaling pathways WNT signaling pathways This article is really about this topic…
  18. 18. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Cellular interactions Cell adhesion Cell communication Cell signaling Notch signaling Receptor signaling Signal transduction Signaling pathways WNT signaling pathways Implicit (great grandparent) Peer Implicit (grandparent) Implicit (parent) Peer Peer Explicit tag Implicit (child) Implicit (grandchild) Term Relationships: Weighting Search 18 CONTENT/LANGUAGE 1.0 0.7 0.5 0.2 0.3 0.5 Ancestors Descendants Related (RT) ? Synonym (NP) 1.0?
  19. 19. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Balancing Term Value 19 CONTENT/LANGUAGE SubjectsAbout-ness Depicts (primary) Depicts (background) Chromatin Self renewal Post-treatment effects
  20. 20. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Subjects and Topics 20 CONTENT/LANGUAGE Topics Topics Sub-Topics . . . Subjects Term Term . . . Group of Subjects Subjects are about the specific things in your content Topics provide entry to your site’s overall focus
  21. 21. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Subjects and Topics 21 CONTENT/LANGUAGE Topics Topics Sub-Topics . . . Subjects Term Term . . . Group of Subjects BONUS This approach gives you algorithmic ranking from browse or term-specific link lookup, because the ranking algorithm works off of the relationships profile of the content!
  22. 22. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Navigation Within Content 22 CONTENT/LANGUAGE • Indexing structure(s) • Natural Language Processing (NLP) • Semantic distance
  23. 23. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Navigation Within Content 23 CONTENT/LANGUAGE Author 2013. AuthorLast, AuthorFirst. "The Title of the Work," 212-230. In Name of Collected Works, Vol. 3. EditorNames, eds. Publisher, 2013. “He identified in that passage (Author 2013, p.217) that the dog was not present.” Pointer to overall location of primary information entity. Supports human reading to find the specific information.
  24. 24. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Navigation Within Content 24 CONTENT/LANGUAGE Author 2013. AuthorLast, AuthorFirst. "The Title of the Web Page," URL: http://SpecificCitedObjectPURL. In Name of Collected Works. EditorNames, eds. National Gallery of Art. Accessed December 25, 2013. “He identified in that passage (Author 2013, Technical Notes) that the dog the dog was not present.” Pointer to entry-specific location of primary information entity. Pointer to the overall article / publication.
  25. 25. @ddegler User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search | NFAIS 2019 Proactive Search Requires Learning 25 CONTENT/LANGUAGE Find & Use Support Ongoing Quality & Effectiveness Proactive & Targeted Technology Support Apply refs to work products Run & refine searches Organize / annotate references Relevance pattern learning Query building support Proactive analysis & retrieval Save for later use Understand & Prepare Gather candidate terms Formulate search strategy Shared resources & models
  26. 26. Duane Degler duane@designforcontext.com @ddegler NFAIS • February 14, 2019 slides posted at: designforcontext.com/insights User and Information Design Considerations for Effective Semantic Search

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