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Title: Design and implementation of search awareness cues in explicit collaborative information seeking
Author: Alarayedh, Husain
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 9507
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2017
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The intentional and explicit activity of searching for information using digital platforms between two or more persons is recognised as a major form of information seeking activity. This common collaborative activity had been overlooked in the design of most Search User Interfaces (SUIs). Collaborators have been pushed to adapt to a variety of workarounds to share search activities and results, and yet, it is a growing practice between groups due to the abundance of digital platforms and the availability of a wide range of online collaborative services. Therefore, interdisciplinary research in the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and Interactive Information Retrieval (IIR) have realised the importance of this shared activity across various professional and personal contexts. Current research in the specialised area of Collaborative Information Seeking (CIS), and the design and implementation of CIS systems particularly, highlights several factors that facilitate a seamless and effective collaborative search process and establishes new approaches to enhance this process. Awareness, a multidimensional concept widely used in this context, is coined as an essential factor in collaborative systems, and it is crucial for a successful collaborative information seeking activity. This research, situated within the interdisciplinary field of CIS, investigated how the introduction of 'awareness cues' can be designed and implemented visually and contextually to best aid explicit collaborative information seeking. The cues are defined as a visual, non-disruptive, form of related activities awareness mechanism. The research demonstrates two novel search awareness approaches by displaying cues of collaborators activities during the search. These cues are aimed to provide visually and contextually appropriate and adequate awareness notification, thereby assisting the collaborators' awareness of each other's shared search activities with minimal overhead distraction. These cues are designed and tested within a broader, functional porotype web app, named here as SearchAware. This mashup collaborative information seeking system aims to aid collaborators to search together for scholarly literature. To facilitate a naturalistic approach, SearchAware v1 utilised the search engine of the digital libraries of Mendeley's crowdsourced database and Microsoft Academic Search. It also connected to Twitter as a platform to provide a timeline of the activities cues. In the second version, SearchAware v2, the awareness cues visual were designed and implemented to facilitate synchronous awareness of the collaborators' activities within the search engine results page (SERP).The research illustrated how these cues affected the collaborative search the productivity, interaction and interface usability of the collaborators. Each version was evaluated through a curated study that included a set of evaluative measurements. In v1, a formative user study in which students were asked to search for relevant literature for their group projects. For v2, a controlled experiment of information seeking simulated work tasks for postgraduate students and researchers was performed. A mixture of user and system based evaluations were applied to comprehend the awareness cues effect on the collaborative search experience. Based on the results of these studies, the research concluded with implications for the design and implementation of an adequate and appropriate awareness cues in CIS systems.
Supervisor: De Bruijn, Oscar Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available