Skip to main content

Carlea Holl-Jensen||


Norman, K., Butler, S. (Jan. 1989)
Search by uncertainty: menu selection by target probability
HCIL-89-02, CS-TR-2230, CAR-TR-432

Subjects searched a simple three level hierarchical filing system to locate hypothetical documents. Search was guided only by a numerical index. The index was either (a) the probability that the document would be found by selecting one of the alternatives, (b) a frequency count of possible hits available by selecting one of the alternatives, or (c) a bar-graph of the likelihood that each of the alternatives would lead to the target document. The three indices were calculated using either (a) joint probabilities or (b) probabilities normalized across the alternatives at each level. An analysis of search patterns indicated that subjects tended to follow highest probability paths for the first traversal. If the target was not found, they engaged in a local search at the bottom of the hierarchy. If the target was still not found, they attempted to follow the second highest probability path down. Results indicated that subjects made the fewest deviations from the best path when probabilities were normalized. Furthermore, bar-graph displays uniformly resulted in the fewest deviations from the best path. When subjects redirected their search, they could either move up the hierarchy one level or restart at the top. Subjects with high spatial visualization ability were more likely to move up one level, while subjects with low spatial visualization were more likely to restart the search. Finally, if the target was not found after several attempts, search patterns began to reveal considerable redundant ra ndom search behavior and checking of paths. Techniques are suggested to reduce inefficient search patterns.

Community Analysis and Visualization Screenshot

Community Analysis and Visualization
More information

Tech Reports
Video Reports
Annual Symposium

Seminars + Events
HCIL Seminar Series
Annual Symposium
HCIL Service Grants
Events Archives
HCIL Conference Travel Award
Job Openings
For the Press
HCIL Overview
Become a Member
Collaborating Groups + People
Academic Visitors
Join our Mailing List
Contact Us
Visit Us
HCIL Store
Give the HCIL a Hand
HCIL T-shirts for Sale
Our Lighter Side
HCIL Memories Page
Faculty/ Staff
Ph.D. Alumni
Past Members
Research Areas
Design Process
Digital Libraries
Physical Devices
Public Access
Research Histories
Faculty Listed by Research
Project Highlights
Project Screenshots
Publications and TRs
Studying HCI
Masters in HCI
PhD in HCI
Visiting Scholars
Class Websites
Sponsor our Research
Sponsor our Annual Symposium
Active Sponsorship
Industrial Visitors

Web Accessibility