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Comparing usability between a visualization and text‐based system for information retrieval

Sherry Koshman (School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 October 2004



This investigation tested the designer assumption that VIBE is a tool for an expert user and asked: what are the effects of user expertise on usability when VIBE's non‐traditional interface is compared with a more traditional text‐based interface? Three user groups – novices, online searching experts, and VIBE system experts – totaling 31 participants, were asked to use and compare VIBE to a more traditional text‐based system, askSam. No significant differences were found; however, significant performance differences were found for some tasks on the two systems. Participants understood the basic principles underlying VIBE although they generally favored the askSam system. The findings suggest that VIBE is a learnable system and its components have pragmatic application to the development of visualized information retrieval systems. Further research is recommended to maximize the retrieval potential of IR visualization systems.



Koshman, S. (2004), "Comparing usability between a visualization and text‐based system for information retrieval", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 60 No. 5, pp. 565-580.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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