Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Please see currently inactive department below.


Industrial and Systems Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Marc L. Resnick

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ronald Giachetti

Third Advisor's Name

Shih-Ming Lee

Date of Defense



The design of interfaces to facilitate user search has become critical for search engines, ecommerce
sites, and intranets. This study investigated the use of targeted instructional hints to improve search by measuring the quantitative effects of users' performance and satisfaction.

The effects of syntactic, semantic and exemplar search hints on user behavior were evaluated in an empirical investigation using naturalistic scenarios. Combining the three search hint components, each with two levels of intensity, in a factorial design generated eight search engine interfaces. Eighty participants participated in the study and each completed six realistic search tasks.

Results revealed that the inclusion of search hints improved user effectiveness, efficiency and confidence when using the search interfaces, but with complex interactions that require specific guidelines for search interface designers. These design guidelines will allow search designers to create more effective interfaces for a variety of search




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