Hierarchical Faceted Metadata in Site Search Interfaces

Jennifer English, Marti A. Hearst, Rashmi R. Sinha, Kirsten Swearingen, Ka-Ping Yee


One of the most pressing usability issues in the design of large web sites is that of the organization of search results. A previous study on a moderate-sized web site indicated that users understood and preferred dynamically organized faceted metadata over standard search. We are now examining how to scale this approach to very large collections, since it is difficult to present hierarchical faceted metadata in a manner appealing and understandable to general users. We have iteratively designed and tested interfaces that address these design challenges; the most recent version is receiving enthusiastic responses in ongoing usability studies.


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