Using keyphrases as search result surrogates on small screen devices

Jones, S. R., Jones, M., Deo, S. J. (2003) Working Paper 07/03, Department of Computer Science, The University of Waikato, Hamilton.

This paper investigates user interpretation of search result displays on small screen devices. Such devices present interesting design challenges given their limited display capabilities, particularly in relation to screen size. Our aim is to provide users with succinct yet useful representations of search results that allow rapid and accurate decisions to be made about the utility of result documents, yet minimize user actions (such as scrolling), the use of device resources, and the volume of data to be downloaded. Our hypothesis is that keyphrases that are automatically extracted from documents can support this aim. We report on a user study that compared how accurately users categorized result documents on small screens when the document surrogates consisted of either keyphrases only, or document titles. We found no significant performance differences between the two conditions. In addition to these encouraging results, keyphrases have the benefit that they can be extracted and presented when no other document metadata can be identified.