Wednesday, 20 June 2012

My Search Logger is OUT!


Hi all!

I am happy to announce that my proxy-based search task logging software is now (finally) available to DOWNLOAD! There are a number of new features and improved existing ones. In order to get an idea of what to expect, I will share a few snapshots. Happy searching!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

How to do a search report? The Search Logger 2.0 usability study


Summary

The background
The aim of the Search Task Repository project is to let the users/Internet searchers publish their annotated search logs and make these logs searchable. In order to log ones search activity and behaviour, we have developed a special tool called The Search Logger 2.0. Here "2.0" means that a conceptually similar but technically very different logger existed before I started with this project and was developed by Hannu Kikkas. The current version is platform-independent and uses a proxy to modify every web page served so that it could be logged by our dedicated HTTP server. The Search Task Repository is currently in development and will be one of the main topics of my Master thesis.

The goal
We wanted to put ourselves in the end user's shoes and evaluate the usability of the current Search Logger 2.0. To do that I conducted a number of exploratory search tasks and used our software to log the web activity. In essence, I sought an answer to the question "How to do a search report?". The other goal was to find, document and fix bugs in the existing logging and reporting software and come up with ideas about new features.

The results
The existing solution was tested on six exploratory search tasks such as finding a foreign university on a budget where to study machine engineering, finding 5 clever Christmas present ideas for under 10 euros per item, finding a ballroom dance school in Tartu area, etc. These tasks and how they worked out on our current software in more detail can be found on my blog. What is more, I made a short screencast for presentation purposes which is also linked to. During the semester I made some small tweaks to the Search Logger 2.0 but they are mostly bug-fixes and I do not consider them significant in this context. Here is a list of things that I learnt from the experiment:
  • FIX: Amazon book preview does not work properly
  • FIX: Sidepane video image previews on YouTube are not displayed
  • FIX: Some random exceptions (documented) -> possibly related to the pre- and post-forms
  • TODO: Users might want to take notes while searching
  • TODO: onSubmit and onClick events should be also logged
  • TODO: The logger is lacking a database integration
  • TODO: Search logger and repository integration (work in progress)
  • IDEA: Copy-paste detection and bookmarking would be nice to have because this help us detect web pages with relevant information

Thank you for reading this blog and feel free to share your ideas!

Peeter

Finding a ballroom dance school in Tartu area

And here is the second search task conducted. What makes it special is its locality. Search tasks often get a different meaning when the physical location comes into play. And this is one key aspect to bear in mind for developing the repository of search tasks. A user who is searching for a dance school in Tartu might have little use of search logs describing the same thing for Stockholm. However, general search patterns (for instance some non-location key words typed in Google which lead to good results) might still be discovered from the logs.

Pre-form:

Post-form:

Technical logs:
http://www.mediafire.com/?86v2dlqhp0qlvl9

In the next post I will wrap up why the things I did were useful for the project in general.

Peeter

P.S. This is not an advertisement but the best school quality/price-wise that I found was Revalia Tantsukool, appr. 4-5 EUR per hour. :D

Electronic books search case study

Hi!

In the meantime I have came up with two new exploratory search tasks. The first one will be covered in this post

Objective:

Result:
Answers:
Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics [Paperback]
Make: Electronics (Learning by Discovery) [Paperback]
Tab Electronics Guide to Understanding Electricity and Electronics [Paperback]
Electronics Demystified [Paperback]
Electronics For Dummies [Paperback]
All New Electronics Self-Teaching Guide (Wiley Self Teaching Guides) [Paperback]

Search logger logs and crash logs:

There is more to come...

Peeter


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Two new search tasks

Hello all,

I have two new exploratory search tasks with complete search logger data to report.

The first one is seasonal: finding 5 clever Christmas present ideas for under 10 euros per item. Target is unfixed but you can assume it is a lady.

The second: listing 10 most common requirements for a data analyst job application, i.e. must have skills, personality traits, education, etc.

First case
Second case

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Search Logger 2.0 DEMO video

Here you will find a video of somewhat superior quality. Enjoy!

Aspects of the software covered in this video:
  • filling in pre- and post-forms by the user
  • automatic logging of the user search behaviour
  • different log formats
  • searching itself using Google
Aspects NOT covered in the screencast:
  • setting up the whole logger system
  • source code of the search logger 2.0


If you have questions or ideas, please post them here. Thanks!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Initial screencast of the interface

Hi!

I carried out another search task and recorded a screencast presenting the whole process.

Task:

Compile a list of the five best universities (worldwide) to achieve a
master's in machine engineering (or closely related field) under the
condition that you have 1500 EUR per month available to cover all
involved costs.

Happy watching! Note: what you will see is edited video material. However, as PiTiVi seems to have no support for adding text labels, there are none at the moment. Sorry for the relatively poor quality. I hope make available a better version soon. :-)

More information regarding this task coming soon... Please comment on what you would like to change in the first place to make this tool better.