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The Hunt for the Perfect Interface in a Googlified World   11.30-12.30 Thursday 14 Sept. EAHIL 10th conference 2006 in Clu...
The perfect interface – does it exist?
How does your interface work (at your work)? <ul><li>Perfect! 100% </li></ul><ul><li>Optimal! 90% </li></ul><ul><li>It’s n...
User  interface  content <ul><li>Truism that has to be repeated: the interface is immediately dependent of the content </l...
An interface adjusted to every user’s need!   Average users Professional users <ul><li>Characteristics: </li></ul><ul><li>...
Databases often forget the need of average users… What is a thesaurus? A dinosaur?
WebSpirs 5 l acks mappning (automatic search for thesauri terms) as in PubMed
WebSpirs 5 lacks  automatic exploding of sub-thesauri terms as in PubMed You have to learn the users what explode means.
… and search engines forget the advanced users.  Truncation? Wild cards? Proximity search? ISSN-search? Author address? Pu...
<ul><li>FROM SMALL THINGS (BIG THINGS ONE DAY COME) (Written by Bruce Springsteen) </li></ul><ul><li>It doesn’t help to fo...
Neat but usable or findable?  Click the door to  reach the main site.
Ugly but usable or findable?
The fairytale of the little hyphen (and personal ID:s) <ul><li>490923-9999? </li></ul><ul><li>eller 4909239999? </li></ul>...
The fairytale of the little hyphen <ul><li>Just use hyphen, just use hyphen, just use hyphen... </li></ul>
Hyphen or not hyphen? 19490923 or 490923? Your personal ID should be numeric, in other words not containing space or hyphe...
The fairytale of the little hyphen Should accept both hyphen and non-hyphen. Both ten or eleven digits.
The fairytale of the little hyphen Card or personal ID for betting.  490923-9999 or 4909239999
We (the technical department) can’t change the hyphen problem because… <ul><li>… they [read:vendor] won’t fix it until nex...
Big things vs. Small things… <ul><li>Why focus on offering loads of personalization services if the problem with the littl...
More vital nitpicking examples… Not clickable  Clickable
More vital nitpicking examples…
What do our users want? Portals or….
… search focused interfaces? search.yahoo.com search.msn.com
<ul><li>” Portals try to keep the users there as long as possible. We are trying to keep the users as short a time as poss...
The success story of Google <ul><li>Simplicity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Both according to interface solutions and usability o...
What do we mean with simplicity? <ul><li>1. Simplicty is subjective, that’s why it has to be adjusted to users primarily a...
What do we mean with simplicity? <ul><li>2a)Take notion of established conventions to reduce time to learn.  </li></ul><ul...
What do we mean with simplicity? <ul><li>3.It should work (easy, smooth) otherwise remove the service or the function not ...
What do we mean with simplicity? <ul><li>4.Simplicity does  not   exclude advanced options, instead should advanced option...
What do we mean with simplicity? <ul><li>5.Build interfaces according to the intuition of users, not learning capacity at ...
Zipf’s law of least effort In swedish: minsta motståndets lag <ul><li>A person choses a way to a goal that offers the smal...
How do search engines by intuitive solutions deal with users unwillingness to learn?  <ul><li>Search short cuts </li></ul>
Web search by Amanda Spink och Bernard J. Jansen. Kluwer, 2004. <ul><li>Based on studies made between 1997-2004 using sear...
The effects of Googlization  according to loads of studies and tests <ul><li>Users ignore help text, advanced search forms...
Young researchers need of information search and IT support. BIBSAM-project, Sweden. <ul><li>Research method: naturalistic...
Overall conclusion of project <ul><li>Google is first choice – ”cather in the rye” </li></ul><ul><li>Search strategy ”tria...
Medical Library at Karolinska Institute, specific conclusions: <ul><li>Google and PubMed are primary sources, and they are...
Medical Library at Karolinska Institute, specific conclusions: <ul><li>Journal articles primary source. Books not often. <...
So, do they need us?
Of, course researchers they need us! <ul><li>… but they don’t always realize it. </li></ul><ul><li>… on the other hand not...
My whislist <ul><li>The importance of standardized search synthax could never be undersestimated: ” ”, -, +, OR, lang:, la...
Why have we left the control of the interface to the technicians and vendors?   Card catalog until about 1985 Computerized...
Why have we left the control of the interface to the technicians and vendors? The book has its established conventions lik...
The tyranny of portals (from our vendors)
The XML-code and API:s are just out there, take control of your interface!
Take control of your interface! <ul><li>Reference desk duty librarians and educating librarians has a unique experience of...
Strategy when developing interfaces <ul><li>User testings – Users considers…  </li></ul><ul><li>Research and reliable expe...
Is artificial intelligence the future? Not if it takes control of the user, when  users don’t want it. Personalization mus...
Some examples based on 12 years working experience <ul><li>The more clicks needed before an answer will be displayed, the ...
Econtent September 2006 vol. 29 iss. 7 <ul><li>” Our clients are far less willing to ask us for help in finding informatio...
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The hunt for the perfect interface in a googlified world

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The hunt for the perfect interface in a googlified world

  1. 1. The Hunt for the Perfect Interface in a Googlified World 11.30-12.30 Thursday 14 Sept. EAHIL 10th conference 2006 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania Speaker:Lars Iselid
  2. 2. The perfect interface – does it exist?
  3. 3. How does your interface work (at your work)? <ul><li>Perfect! 100% </li></ul><ul><li>Optimal! 90% </li></ul><ul><li>It’s nice, but it could be even better! 80% </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfying! 70% </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptable! 60% </li></ul><ul><li>It’s working although, but… 40% </li></ul><ul><li>Better than nothing! 30% </li></ul><ul><li>It’s worthless, but now we bought it … 10% </li></ul>
  4. 4. User interface content <ul><li>Truism that has to be repeated: the interface is immediately dependent of the content </li></ul>HTML pages, lacking ”strict” metadata MARC record, ”stacking” metadata
  5. 5. An interface adjusted to every user’s need! Average users Professional users <ul><li>Characteristics: </li></ul><ul><li>Minority but influential </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent user </li></ul><ul><li>Willing to spend some time learning </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians, researchers, </li></ul><ul><li>computer engineers, </li></ul><ul><li>journalists etc </li></ul><ul><li>Characteristics: </li></ul><ul><li>Unpatient </li></ul><ul><li>A majority </li></ul><ul><li>Majority rarely use searching more than pro’s </li></ul>
  6. 6. Databases often forget the need of average users… What is a thesaurus? A dinosaur?
  7. 7. WebSpirs 5 l acks mappning (automatic search for thesauri terms) as in PubMed
  8. 8. WebSpirs 5 lacks automatic exploding of sub-thesauri terms as in PubMed You have to learn the users what explode means.
  9. 9. … and search engines forget the advanced users. Truncation? Wild cards? Proximity search? ISSN-search? Author address? Publisher/supplier?
  10. 10. <ul><li>FROM SMALL THINGS (BIG THINGS ONE DAY COME) (Written by Bruce Springsteen) </li></ul><ul><li>It doesn’t help to focus on BIG THINGS when the SMALL THINGS fails!! </li></ul>The importance of being nitpicking!
  11. 11. Neat but usable or findable? Click the door to reach the main site.
  12. 12. Ugly but usable or findable?
  13. 13. The fairytale of the little hyphen (and personal ID:s) <ul><li>490923-9999? </li></ul><ul><li>eller 4909239999? </li></ul><ul><li>eller 19490923-9999? </li></ul><ul><li>eller 194909239999? </li></ul>
  14. 14. The fairytale of the little hyphen <ul><li>Just use hyphen, just use hyphen, just use hyphen... </li></ul>
  15. 15. Hyphen or not hyphen? 19490923 or 490923? Your personal ID should be numeric, in other words not containing space or hyphen. User identity 12 numbers (16 + organization number or 19 + peronal ID) Automatically insert hyphen in personal ID
  16. 16. The fairytale of the little hyphen Should accept both hyphen and non-hyphen. Both ten or eleven digits.
  17. 17. The fairytale of the little hyphen Card or personal ID for betting. 490923-9999 or 4909239999
  18. 18. We (the technical department) can’t change the hyphen problem because… <ul><li>… they [read:vendor] won’t fix it until next version </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why do you always have to accept waiting for new versions? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… we don’t have access to the source code and our vendor’s contact person is away at the moment. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why not open source? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… we have to fix that and that and that first. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you prioritize? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… it can’t be that serious. It’s just a hyphen. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does the technicians/sytem librarians understand the consequences for our users? </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Big things vs. Small things… <ul><li>Why focus on offering loads of personalization services if the problem with the little hyphen has not been solved? </li></ul>
  20. 20. More vital nitpicking examples… Not clickable Clickable
  21. 21. More vital nitpicking examples…
  22. 22. What do our users want? Portals or….
  23. 23. … search focused interfaces? search.yahoo.com search.msn.com
  24. 24. <ul><li>” Portals try to keep the users there as long as possible. We are trying to keep the users as short a time as possible”. </li></ul><ul><li>Monika Henzinger, Google </li></ul>
  25. 25. The success story of Google <ul><li>Simplicity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Both according to interface solutions and usability of new options and services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Relevant hits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At a time when relevance was low in search engines </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Search focus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Instead of portalization </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. What do we mean with simplicity? <ul><li>1. Simplicty is subjective, that’s why it has to be adjusted to users primarily and to developers or the acquisitors/librarians secondly. </li></ul>Which milk prepackage is easiest to open?
  27. 27. What do we mean with simplicity? <ul><li>2a)Take notion of established conventions to reduce time to learn. </li></ul><ul><li>2b)Conventions can of course be overruled, but just with proper arguments. </li></ul>A click on the logotype sends me to the main page.
  28. 28. What do we mean with simplicity? <ul><li>3.It should work (easy, smooth) otherwise remove the service or the function not working within the service. </li></ul>
  29. 29. What do we mean with simplicity? <ul><li>4.Simplicity does not exclude advanced options, instead should advanced option be as easy implemented as possible. </li></ul>Why ” ”? Why not AMNE with Ä?
  30. 30. What do we mean with simplicity? <ul><li>5.Build interfaces according to the intuition of users, not learning capacity at first. </li></ul>Should we call it subject wordlist or thesaurus, classification or subject code?
  31. 31. Zipf’s law of least effort In swedish: minsta motståndets lag <ul><li>A person choses a way to a goal that offers the smallest risk for unnecessary effort and the biggest chance to get rewarded. </li></ul><ul><li>Behavior: minimal learning, trial and error methodology. </li></ul>I got no energy to go to that library and copy that print &§% article. And it’s to much to fill in in that digital library request form I will risk to fall asleep! Soon PhD
  32. 32. How do search engines by intuitive solutions deal with users unwillingness to learn? <ul><li>Search short cuts </li></ul>
  33. 33. Web search by Amanda Spink och Bernard J. Jansen. Kluwer, 2004. <ul><li>Based on studies made between 1997-2004 using search log files from the search engines Ask Jeeves, Excite, Alltheweb and Altavista. </li></ul><ul><li>Length of search words is about 2,5 for each search session. </li></ul><ul><li>Search operators are used in about 10% of search requests but in Alltheweb less than 5% and Altavista 20%. </li></ul><ul><li>Of all search operators phrase searching is used in 50% of the cases and second popular is AND. </li></ul>
  34. 34. The effects of Googlization according to loads of studies and tests <ul><li>Users ignore help text, advanced search forms and advanced search operators. </li></ul><ul><li>There are lots of signs of users considering all searching as some sort of web search. </li></ul><ul><li>Search for many users is synonym with search engines, not databases. </li></ul><ul><li>Users often have preknowledge of these search operators ” ”, +, - which constitutes the impact of web search. </li></ul><ul><li>Users often starts with Google, not necessarily because they believe Google gives more relevant hits but relevant enough (to step further). </li></ul>
  35. 35. Young researchers need of information search and IT support. BIBSAM-project, Sweden. <ul><li>Research method: naturalistic inquiry </li></ul><ul><li>Informants were researcher’s from 3 universities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>4 women and 4 men from Karolinska Institute, Sthlm. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 men and 5 women from Sthlm university </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 women and 5 men from Royal Institute of Technology, Sthlm. </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Overall conclusion of project <ul><li>Google is first choice – ”cather in the rye” </li></ul><ul><li>Search strategy ”trial-and-error” </li></ul><ul><li>Very infrequently use of library site when searching </li></ul><ul><li>Windows/MIE not always standard </li></ul><ul><li>Many of them don’t believe they need courses in how to search </li></ul><ul><li>Liaisons librarians are never contacted </li></ul><ul><li>If the material is not digital, they ignore it. </li></ul>
  37. 37. Medical Library at Karolinska Institute, specific conclusions: <ul><li>Google and PubMed are primary sources, and they are aware of the differences of search engines compared to databases. </li></ul><ul><li>They don’t know about Google Scholar </li></ul><ul><li>They search often by author and institution, rarely by subject </li></ul><ul><li>They are satisfied with their information gathering and think they find what they want </li></ul>
  38. 38. Medical Library at Karolinska Institute, specific conclusions: <ul><li>Journal articles primary source. Books not often. </li></ul><ul><li>Supervisors and colleagues most important information channel. List of cited references in already familiar works often a starting point. </li></ul><ul><li>What we call alert services is rarely used. </li></ul><ul><li>The perception of the library role is vague and they rarely visit the library website and never the building of the library. </li></ul>
  39. 39. So, do they need us?
  40. 40. Of, course researchers they need us! <ul><li>… but they don’t always realize it. </li></ul><ul><li>… on the other hand not as much as we think. </li></ul><ul><li>… and not with things we think about: scissors, WC, academic writing, bibliographic reference manager, source assessment on Internet etc </li></ul><ul><li>Question from researcher: I will present my thesis next month. Could you look up if someone else has presented a thesis on my subject: Internet consultation in medicine ? </li></ul>
  41. 41. My whislist <ul><li>The importance of standardized search synthax could never be undersestimated: ” ”, -, +, OR, lang:, language: </li></ul><ul><li>Truncation * (inte $) </li></ul><ul><li>Wildcards ? </li></ul><ul><li>Spell checker </li></ul><ul><li>Autotruncation, stemming. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It MUST be easy to turn off </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Proximity search - NEAR </li></ul><ul><li>Search shortcuts </li></ul>
  42. 42. Why have we left the control of the interface to the technicians and vendors? Card catalog until about 1985 Computerized catalog from 1985- Digital library from 1995- Online-databases from 1985-
  43. 43. Why have we left the control of the interface to the technicians and vendors? The book has its established conventions like index, table of content, footnotes, spinetitle, title leaf. Lacks strictly established conventions, beside of a search form and search Button.
  44. 44. The tyranny of portals (from our vendors)
  45. 45. The XML-code and API:s are just out there, take control of your interface!
  46. 46. Take control of your interface! <ul><li>Reference desk duty librarians and educating librarians has a unique experience of the users search behavior! </li></ul>
  47. 47. Strategy when developing interfaces <ul><li>User testings – Users considers… </li></ul><ul><li>Research and reliable experience– Someone considers… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consensus, tradition. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research, pseudo-research, investigations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The personal, subjective feeling - I consider… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>My experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>My personal intution and creativity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Authorities – He, she, they consider… </li></ul>
  48. 48. Is artificial intelligence the future? Not if it takes control of the user, when users don’t want it. Personalization must be implemented with open cards! Where is the option save?
  49. 49. Some examples based on 12 years working experience <ul><li>The more clicks needed before an answer will be displayed, the more risk the user will not remember the search strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>The more new technical terms at the same learning event, the more confusing. For example thesaurus, boolean operators, MeSH-terms, truncation, explode terms, Libris, Bibsys, Linda. </li></ul><ul><li>Misspellings of english words are very frequent. Not only due to users knowledge shortcomings, but because the user are to hurried and careless. </li></ul><ul><li>Free-text search is often done with to many words with a belief that you have done the best clarified search. Often it’s better to redefine your words (synonyms, related terms) and split the question in more than one search request. </li></ul>
  50. 50. Econtent September 2006 vol. 29 iss. 7 <ul><li>” Our clients are far less willing to ask us for help in finding information; they want to be able to find answers electronically, without any assistance or guidance from us info pros. Our mission is to seed the information clouds so that the critical content makes it all the way to the clients who need it”. </li></ul><ul><li>Mary Ellen Bates </li></ul>

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