Categorized overviews of search results enable informative forms of interaction to support exploratory search. Meaningful and stable categories help searchers explore and understand
large result sets.
Search engines are effective at generating long lists of search
results. But the lack of overviews prevents searchers from effectively
organizing and exploring their results.
Categorizing search results using meaningful and stable
- Exploratory searchers - who have vague or evolving information
- Searchers who lack detailed knowledge about the subject of their
In the following four screenshots, search results for the query "median" are coupled with a categorized overview based on thematic, geographic, and temporal categories. The number of results in each category provide a simple query preview.
(Click an image to view it full-size.)
Moving the pointer over the Science category pops up a list of its nonempty subcategories. It also highlights the visible results in the Science category in the result list:
Moving the pointer over a result highlights the categories that it is a member of:
Clicking on the Science category narrows the results to that category and updates the overview:
This screenshot shows results of the query "breast cancer" on
government web sites. The top 200 search results have been organized
into a hierarchy based on the federal government departments and
agencies. Most of the results fall under the National Institutes of
Health. The detailed result list has been filtered to NIH
by clicking on the agency name. It is easy to which agencies have no
pages in this set of search results (e.g. the Department