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..a contextual computing approach may prove
a breakthrough in personalized search
efficiency..
November 2015
 Refers to the enhancement of a user’s interactions by understanding
the user, the context, and the applications and information being
used
 It’s about “actively adapting the computational environment - for each
and every user - at each point of computation”
 “Focuses on understanding the information consumption patterns of
each user, the various information foraging strategies and
applications they employ, and the nature of the information itself”
 A shift from “consensus relevancy” (relevancy for entire population
used for every person) to “personal relevancy” (relevancy is
determined for each individual)
 This shift to personal relevancy decreases the time it takes people to
find information
 Content-based approaches - using language to match a query with
results - this approach doesn’t help users determine which results are
actually worth reading
 Author-relevancy techniques - using citation and hyperlinks - sometimes
presents the problem of ‘authoring bias’ and/or ‘ranking bias’ (results
that are valued by authors are not necessarily those valued by the entire
population)
 Usage rank - this “leverages the actions of users to compute relevancy”
- the usage rank is computed from the frequency, recency, and/or
duration of interaction by users - usage ranks allow for changes in
relevancy over time to be determined
 All of the above techniques measure relevance “as a function of the
entire population of users”
 This does not acknowledge that “relevance is relative” for each user
 There needs to be a way to “take into account that different people find
different things relevant and that people’s interests and knowledge
change over time - “personal relevance”
 In order to personalize search, we need to combine at least
two different computational techniques - contextualization and
individualization
 Contextualization - “the interrelated conditions that occur
within an activity..includes factors like the nature of information
available, the information currently being examined, and the
applications in use”
 Individualization - “the totality of characteristics that
distinguishes an individual.. Uses the user’s goals, prior and
tacit knowledge, past information-seeking behaviors”
 Main ways to personalize a search are “query augmentation” and
“result processing”
 Query augmentation - when a user enters a query, the query can
be compared against the contextual information available to
determine if the query can be refined to include other terms
 Query augmentation can also be done by computing the
similarity between the query term and the user model - if the
query is on a topic the user has previously seen, the system can
reinforce the query with similar terms
 This more concise query is then shown to the user and
“submitted to a search engine for processing”
 Once the query has been augmented and processed by the
search engine, the results can be “individualized”
 The results being individualized - this means that the information
is filtered based upon information in the user’s model and/or
context
 The user model “can re-rank search results based upon the
similarity of the content of the pages in the results and the user’s
profile”
 Another processing method is to re-rank the
results based upon the “frequency, recency, or
duration of usage..providing users with the
ability to identify the most popular, faddish and
time-consuming pages they’ve seen”
 “Have Seen, Have Not Seen” - this features
allows new information to be identified and
return to information already seen”
 Designed to be a “generalized architecture for the
personalization of search across a variety of information
ecologies”
 The Outride client can be integrated into the sidebar of the
Internet - it “supports direct manipulation and has access to all
user interactions”
 Sidebar is split up into four separate information spaces -
Personal (personal hierarchy of each user’s links), Directory (a
catalog of links), History (user’s surf history), Web (search
results from the entire Web)
 The user models are computed from the content in these
information spaces in the sidebar
 Outride used eTesting Lbs to design a series of test to measure if the
Outride system actually succeeded in making searches faster and
easier to complete
 The elapsed time to successfully complete a search and the number
of interface actions (mouse clicks/number of entries entered) were
used as the measurements
 Participants performed 12 search tasks with Outride and a different
search engine
 Default user model was used for all participants
 Participants found the answers more quickly with Outride than with
any other search engine - on average, participants took 39 seconds
to complete the tasks using Outride and 75 seconds using Google
 Participants also needed fewer interface actions when using Outride
- 11 when using Outride and 21 using the other search engine
 Some of the scenarios contained tasks “directly
supported by the functionality provided by the
Outride system, creating an advantage against the
other search engines”
 Default profiles were used, instead of individualized
profiles - therefore, it did not “represent the test
participant’ actual surfing patterns, nor were the
participants intimately familiar with the content of the
profiles”
 Despite these issues, the “magnitude of the
difference between the Outride system and the
other engines is compelling”
 One problem is modeling a user’s changing
interests over time
 However, carefully designed interfaces can help
“alleviate inaccurate personalization and allow
users to control the extent of the personalization”
 Privacy issues are a problem since it is a system
that stores models based upon user’s interactions
with information
“When designing Web personalization
products, make sure you address all your
users”
By Udi Manber, Ash Patel, and John Robison
 This article discusses three different examples of
personalization on Yahoo! Including
 My Yahoo!
 Yahoo! Companion
 Inside Yahoo! Search
 My Yahoo! Is a customized personal copy of Yahoo!
 Users select from various models such as news,
stock prices, weather, and sports scores to put on
their Web page.
 Provides users with the latest information on every
subject, but with only the specific items they want to
know about.
 Personalization
 Users can do such things as chose certain TV channels to put in their TV
Guide
 Customized Content
 Example of this is a sports module that lists the teams in the user’s area after
obtaining that information from the user’s profile.
 Automatic Updates
 A My Yahoo! Option allows this page to automatically update at any user-
specified interval from 15 minutes to several hours
 Original Module Ability
 Modules can be selected from a long list, but can also be added by clicking on
a button at the original content page.
 Each module on a My Yahoo! Page also has an edit and remove button,
allowing users to manipulate their pages directly, without ever needing to visit
an edit/layout page.
 A browser’s embedded toolbar from which a user
can directly access most of Yahoo! features from
anywhere on the Web.
 Like a mini My Yahoo! that takes a small space at
the top of the page is always with you.
 The user interface is similar to any other
bookmark feature, but the difference is the
bookmarks are kept on the server (not simply
on the specific computer)
 Therefore changes that users make to their
toolbar will stay with users even if they switch
to a different computer
 Users have the ability to chose from several
toolbars (such as a regular one a stock
market one) and change them at any time
 Yahoo! like many other search engines tries to
personalize searches using information it is able
to obtain from the user
 It would be impossible for Yahoo! to customize
every search.
 If a user searches for the name of current movie,
Yahoo will show results for Yahoo! Movies, show an
image for the movie, the cast, and a pointer to a page
with current show times
 If the user had looked at showtimes on a page
previously and entered a zip code, Yahoo! can now
use that information to show the user movie times in
his or her own are
 Any company that collects private information must guard that
information with its life.
 Personal information about Yahoo! Is maintained in a specially
designed User Database (UDB) which was built on Yahoo!’s own
customized software.
 Yahoo! has data replication and distribution capabilities allowing
them to replicate and distribute the UDB over secure links to
remote locations in Asia and Europe
 Yahoo! has enlisted a security-audit company to evaluate our
procedures periodically and suggest necessary changes, as well
as employ several internal people devoted solely to privacy and
security issues.
 The issue of usability focuses mostly on the issue of predictability
 Personalization features that learn what user want and attempt to
satisfy them are hotly debated
 A weakness in these personalization features is unpredictability
 Example: A lot of people do not want customized news, they want
just the same news as everyone else
 Also getting news about cancer because a user some medical
journal on cancer in the past can confuse the user and even
jeopardize user trust and raise serious privacy concerns in the user’s
mind
 Any effective personalization feature should encourage
experimentation.
 Most users take what is given to them and never
customize.
 Even though companies like Yahoo! offer customized
pages for users, a great deal of effort must still go into
the default page.
 Companies should never underestimate power users
 Customization should follow you as much as possible
 People generally don’t understand the concept of
customization
 Make sure you address all your users
 Learn from users
 “Too many attempts have been made without sufficient
regard to what people really want, what they can use,
and how best it should fit their needs.”
 “A major challenge to large-scale personalization is to
lower the entry bar, making it easier for less-experienced
users to customize their pages, and making it clear to
novices that customization is possible.”

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Search engine patterns

  • 1. ..a contextual computing approach may prove a breakthrough in personalized search efficiency.. November 2015
  • 2.  Refers to the enhancement of a user’s interactions by understanding the user, the context, and the applications and information being used  It’s about “actively adapting the computational environment - for each and every user - at each point of computation”  “Focuses on understanding the information consumption patterns of each user, the various information foraging strategies and applications they employ, and the nature of the information itself”  A shift from “consensus relevancy” (relevancy for entire population used for every person) to “personal relevancy” (relevancy is determined for each individual)  This shift to personal relevancy decreases the time it takes people to find information
  • 3.  Content-based approaches - using language to match a query with results - this approach doesn’t help users determine which results are actually worth reading  Author-relevancy techniques - using citation and hyperlinks - sometimes presents the problem of ‘authoring bias’ and/or ‘ranking bias’ (results that are valued by authors are not necessarily those valued by the entire population)  Usage rank - this “leverages the actions of users to compute relevancy” - the usage rank is computed from the frequency, recency, and/or duration of interaction by users - usage ranks allow for changes in relevancy over time to be determined  All of the above techniques measure relevance “as a function of the entire population of users”  This does not acknowledge that “relevance is relative” for each user  There needs to be a way to “take into account that different people find different things relevant and that people’s interests and knowledge change over time - “personal relevance”
  • 4.  In order to personalize search, we need to combine at least two different computational techniques - contextualization and individualization  Contextualization - “the interrelated conditions that occur within an activity..includes factors like the nature of information available, the information currently being examined, and the applications in use”  Individualization - “the totality of characteristics that distinguishes an individual.. Uses the user’s goals, prior and tacit knowledge, past information-seeking behaviors”
  • 5.  Main ways to personalize a search are “query augmentation” and “result processing”  Query augmentation - when a user enters a query, the query can be compared against the contextual information available to determine if the query can be refined to include other terms  Query augmentation can also be done by computing the similarity between the query term and the user model - if the query is on a topic the user has previously seen, the system can reinforce the query with similar terms  This more concise query is then shown to the user and “submitted to a search engine for processing”  Once the query has been augmented and processed by the search engine, the results can be “individualized”  The results being individualized - this means that the information is filtered based upon information in the user’s model and/or context  The user model “can re-rank search results based upon the similarity of the content of the pages in the results and the user’s profile”
  • 6.  Another processing method is to re-rank the results based upon the “frequency, recency, or duration of usage..providing users with the ability to identify the most popular, faddish and time-consuming pages they’ve seen”  “Have Seen, Have Not Seen” - this features allows new information to be identified and return to information already seen”
  • 7.  Designed to be a “generalized architecture for the personalization of search across a variety of information ecologies”  The Outride client can be integrated into the sidebar of the Internet - it “supports direct manipulation and has access to all user interactions”  Sidebar is split up into four separate information spaces - Personal (personal hierarchy of each user’s links), Directory (a catalog of links), History (user’s surf history), Web (search results from the entire Web)  The user models are computed from the content in these information spaces in the sidebar
  • 8.  Outride used eTesting Lbs to design a series of test to measure if the Outride system actually succeeded in making searches faster and easier to complete  The elapsed time to successfully complete a search and the number of interface actions (mouse clicks/number of entries entered) were used as the measurements  Participants performed 12 search tasks with Outride and a different search engine  Default user model was used for all participants  Participants found the answers more quickly with Outride than with any other search engine - on average, participants took 39 seconds to complete the tasks using Outride and 75 seconds using Google  Participants also needed fewer interface actions when using Outride - 11 when using Outride and 21 using the other search engine
  • 9.  Some of the scenarios contained tasks “directly supported by the functionality provided by the Outride system, creating an advantage against the other search engines”  Default profiles were used, instead of individualized profiles - therefore, it did not “represent the test participant’ actual surfing patterns, nor were the participants intimately familiar with the content of the profiles”  Despite these issues, the “magnitude of the difference between the Outride system and the other engines is compelling”
  • 10.  One problem is modeling a user’s changing interests over time  However, carefully designed interfaces can help “alleviate inaccurate personalization and allow users to control the extent of the personalization”  Privacy issues are a problem since it is a system that stores models based upon user’s interactions with information
  • 11. “When designing Web personalization products, make sure you address all your users” By Udi Manber, Ash Patel, and John Robison
  • 12.  This article discusses three different examples of personalization on Yahoo! Including  My Yahoo!  Yahoo! Companion  Inside Yahoo! Search
  • 13.  My Yahoo! Is a customized personal copy of Yahoo!  Users select from various models such as news, stock prices, weather, and sports scores to put on their Web page.  Provides users with the latest information on every subject, but with only the specific items they want to know about.
  • 14.  Personalization  Users can do such things as chose certain TV channels to put in their TV Guide  Customized Content  Example of this is a sports module that lists the teams in the user’s area after obtaining that information from the user’s profile.  Automatic Updates  A My Yahoo! Option allows this page to automatically update at any user- specified interval from 15 minutes to several hours  Original Module Ability  Modules can be selected from a long list, but can also be added by clicking on a button at the original content page.  Each module on a My Yahoo! Page also has an edit and remove button, allowing users to manipulate their pages directly, without ever needing to visit an edit/layout page.
  • 15.  A browser’s embedded toolbar from which a user can directly access most of Yahoo! features from anywhere on the Web.  Like a mini My Yahoo! that takes a small space at the top of the page is always with you.
  • 16.  The user interface is similar to any other bookmark feature, but the difference is the bookmarks are kept on the server (not simply on the specific computer)  Therefore changes that users make to their toolbar will stay with users even if they switch to a different computer  Users have the ability to chose from several toolbars (such as a regular one a stock market one) and change them at any time
  • 17.  Yahoo! like many other search engines tries to personalize searches using information it is able to obtain from the user  It would be impossible for Yahoo! to customize every search.
  • 18.  If a user searches for the name of current movie, Yahoo will show results for Yahoo! Movies, show an image for the movie, the cast, and a pointer to a page with current show times  If the user had looked at showtimes on a page previously and entered a zip code, Yahoo! can now use that information to show the user movie times in his or her own are
  • 19.  Any company that collects private information must guard that information with its life.  Personal information about Yahoo! Is maintained in a specially designed User Database (UDB) which was built on Yahoo!’s own customized software.  Yahoo! has data replication and distribution capabilities allowing them to replicate and distribute the UDB over secure links to remote locations in Asia and Europe  Yahoo! has enlisted a security-audit company to evaluate our procedures periodically and suggest necessary changes, as well as employ several internal people devoted solely to privacy and security issues.
  • 20.  The issue of usability focuses mostly on the issue of predictability  Personalization features that learn what user want and attempt to satisfy them are hotly debated  A weakness in these personalization features is unpredictability  Example: A lot of people do not want customized news, they want just the same news as everyone else  Also getting news about cancer because a user some medical journal on cancer in the past can confuse the user and even jeopardize user trust and raise serious privacy concerns in the user’s mind  Any effective personalization feature should encourage experimentation.
  • 21.  Most users take what is given to them and never customize.  Even though companies like Yahoo! offer customized pages for users, a great deal of effort must still go into the default page.  Companies should never underestimate power users  Customization should follow you as much as possible  People generally don’t understand the concept of customization  Make sure you address all your users  Learn from users
  • 22.  “Too many attempts have been made without sufficient regard to what people really want, what they can use, and how best it should fit their needs.”  “A major challenge to large-scale personalization is to lower the entry bar, making it easier for less-experienced users to customize their pages, and making it clear to novices that customization is possible.”