Designing Phrase Builder: A Mobile Real-Time Query Expansion Interface

As users enter web queries, real-time query expansion (RTQE) interfaces offer suggestions based on an index garnered from query logs. In selecting a suggestion, users can potentially reduce keystrokes, which can be very beneficial on mobile devices with deficient input means. Unfortunately, RTQE interfaces typically provide little assistance when only parts of an intended query appear among the suggestion choices. In this paper, we introduce Phrase Builder, an RTQE interface that reduces keystrokes by facilitating the selection of individual query words and by leveraging back-off query techniques to offer completions for out-of-index queries. We describe how we implemented a small memory footprint index and retrieval algorithm, and discuss lessons learned from three versions of the user interface, which was iteratively designed through user studies. Compared to standard auto-completion and typing, the last version of Phrase Builder reduced more keystrokes-per-character, was perceived to be faster, and was overall preferred by users.

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In  MobileHCI'09

Publisher  Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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