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Search User Interfaces Hardcover – September 21, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0521113793 ISBN-10: 0521113792 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (September 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521113792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521113793
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #422,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Many people think designing a search user interface is as simple as copying what someone else does. There are a lot of complex issues below the surface and this is the first book to explain all of the research in a way that a practitioner like me can apply it. If you want to design innovative search user interfaces, you need this book close at hand at all times."
Keith Instone, Information Architecture Lead, User Experience Design

"A comprehensive guide, not to how search works but how we humans work with search to satisfy our information needs. A must-read for anyone concerned with usability and creating the optimal user experience for searchers."
Chris Sherman, Executive Editor, Search Engine Land

"With a loud clear trumpet blast Marti Hearst announces a new scientific research domain, with emerging theories, a clear research agenda, and a compelling opportunity to influence vital technologies. Her book provides powerful insights for experts and is a vital guide for those coming into the field. It is difficult to convey my satisfaction and enthusiasm for Marti Hearst's remarkable analysis of the emerging scientific research domain of Search User Interfaces. Hearst's brilliant organization, lucid writing, and admirably comprehensive review (600+ references) are gifts to scholars, implementers, and students who want to contribute to the flourishing activity in user interfaces for information search and retrieval. Her devotion to evidence-based analysis from user and usage studies lays a compelling scientific foundation for future contributions."
Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland

"Professor Hearst has given us the definitive work on search user interfaces; grounded in the theory and practice of information retrieval and human-computer interaction and brimming with examples and clear explanations, this landmark book will serve the needs of students, practitioners, and scholars for years ahead."
Gary Marchionini, Boshamer Professor, University of North Carolina, School of Information and Library Science

"Marti Hearst has written an impressively comprehensive and authoritative account of search interfaces, bringing together the state of the art in search sites with the large and rapidly growing body of scientific research that explains what works and why. This book will be an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to get below the surface of search --- to analyze and create search interfaces and to understand the full range of issues, problems, and new potentials for design."
Terry Winograd, Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University

"Marti Hearst's Search User Interfaces benefits from the focus and coordination that comes more naturally in a single-authored book. [An] acknowledged expert in the field, Hearst brings a clear focus to an impressive range of topics."
Miles Efron, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

Book Description

There are a wide range of interface ideas, but few make their way into major web search engines. This book summarizes the state of the art of search interface design, both in academic research and in commercial systems. Industry professionals designing search engine systems as well as graduate students and academic researchers will welcome this unique book.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The nature of the material makes it a dense read, but that's the complexity of the field rather than Hearst's lucid style.
Brown the Book
The references are all very strong, and even when they are not, I found a few times where she does a better job summarizing the results than the actual papers do.
E. Welker
The writing in this book is extremely clear and direct: it's an ideal textbook for anyone interested in search engines in general as well as interface issues.
A. Rappoport

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a survey of recent work in search, but with an unusual focus on the importance of interface design on searcher's perceptions of the quality and usefulness of search results.

It is an excellent supplement to core search texts such as Introduction to Information Retrieval (Manning et al., 2008) which focus on the backend technology behind search. Search User Interfaces focuses more on the how we search, what we expect to see when we search, different interfaces that have been tried in the past, and which of those people found useful.

More specifically, the author starts by looking at why Google and other search engines have such a spartan design, explaining that searchers find it most helpful when distractions are minimized and it is quick and easy to iterate on searches. She goes on to lay a foundation by looking at the many models for how people search, including an exploration of the information foraging model where searchers partially satisfy some goals while rapidly developing new goals as they are exposed to new information. She offers hints on techniques that have worked well (e.g. immediately showing search results, keywords-in-context in the snippets, diversity of results on ambiguous queries, biasing results based on query term order and proximity, the importance of seemingly minor design tweaks, just to name a few). She dismisses more complicated interfaces such as boolean queries, thumbnails of result pages, clustering, pseudo-relevance feedback, explicit personalization, and visualizations of query refinements and search results, saying that they showed poor results in the past. She holds out hope for faceted search, universal search, and implicit personalization.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Rappoport on December 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Professor Marti Hearst has written the comprehensive review of all current research on search engine user interfaces. But this book is more than just a survey of the literature: it explains all aspects of successful search use interface design (and usability and user experience). Many of us have had ideas that seem nice but simply do not work in practice. Reading this book will save everyone involved with search engine design a huge amount of time and trouble.

The writing in this book is extremely clear and direct: it's an ideal textbook for anyone interested in search engines in general as well as interface issues. I wish it had been around when I was first (painfully) learning many of these lessons. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
I confess that before reading this book I had not heard Hearst's name, but a quick search of the literature in this area clearly shows her to be central to this field (and my lack of knowledge of the field in not having heard her name). Dr. Marti Hearst is a Professor in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley and was previously a member of the research staff at the highly respected Xerox PARC. Reading between the lines of the book I hope you will see a person dedicated to her work and undoubtedly world class in her field. Even if this were not the first book in this field, it would be hard to find something more definitive in the area. Hearst masterfully weaves together academic work across time and from around the world, and is clearly on the ball in terms of current developments. She sets her own work humbly, but in its rightful place in the history of search user interfaces.
The structure of the book itself is a testament to her ideas and principles of design. From the outset we find a clearly written contents page followed by a book overview which neatly encapsulates the books content, setting each chapter in context. Hearst also provides advice on her intended audiences. It's easy to navigate the book and it can be read cover to cover, or dipped into for knowledge and insight in a particular area.
Drawing widely from the literature and using clear examples Hearst begins the book by introducing some general ideas and practices surrounding interface design. Chapter two is a natural follow on from user-centred design as it tackles evaluation of search interfaces. The information seeking process is the subject of the third chapter where Hearst looks at models of the process.
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