Presentation Title

How Search Results Became 'The New Black'

Location

Room 211

Type of Presentation

Individual paper/presentation (20 minute presentation)

Target Audience

Higher Education

Abstract

For students conducting research, the traditional linear navigation model of search form to results to detailed record has served as a consistent, gold standard. But with the recent changes in Google’s search results – from the addition of the Knowledge Graph to the emergence of Answer Boxes in 2014 - students now expect more from the results page, and won’t settle for just a page of links. For search results, what was once a pass-through en route to detailed information about a product or service has become the singular page that matters most - the required basic; the new black.

With search results serving as the staple of the digital ecosystem, creating that experience hinges on a deep understanding of user needs at that critical juncture. While usage metrics may reveal the user’s clicks, the story behind those choices may remain untold. And as usability testing proves useful in identifying areas for improvement, going “off-script” to capture user pain points is not always sanctioned. Emotion and perception play a crucial role in user behavior on the search results page, and content must be presented in a way that builds confidence and empowers the fast-moving, binary decision-making reflex of the page.

This presentation will feature the experiences of the User Research Team at EBSCO Information Services as they set out to illuminate interactions with the search results page as users pursue their scholarly research. Learnings from extensive ethnographic studies will be shared, with insights about the complex feelings students have about searching for information and their diverse strategies for evaluating search results.

Presentation Description

Today's student researchers are skimmers, scanners and efficiency-seekers. Through the course of deep, ethnographic research on this new generation of students, the research group at EBSCO Information Services has collected a range of insights about these users, and the experiences that matter to them. Students are making split-second decisions about what sites and applications will fit into their personal digital landscapes, and the search results page - once a pass-through page - is now central to that decision-making process. Join us to learn why the search results page is now the cornerstone - 'the new black' - of the web user experience.

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Sep 25th, 4:15 PM Sep 25th, 5:30 PM

How Search Results Became 'The New Black'

Room 211

For students conducting research, the traditional linear navigation model of search form to results to detailed record has served as a consistent, gold standard. But with the recent changes in Google’s search results – from the addition of the Knowledge Graph to the emergence of Answer Boxes in 2014 - students now expect more from the results page, and won’t settle for just a page of links. For search results, what was once a pass-through en route to detailed information about a product or service has become the singular page that matters most - the required basic; the new black.

With search results serving as the staple of the digital ecosystem, creating that experience hinges on a deep understanding of user needs at that critical juncture. While usage metrics may reveal the user’s clicks, the story behind those choices may remain untold. And as usability testing proves useful in identifying areas for improvement, going “off-script” to capture user pain points is not always sanctioned. Emotion and perception play a crucial role in user behavior on the search results page, and content must be presented in a way that builds confidence and empowers the fast-moving, binary decision-making reflex of the page.

This presentation will feature the experiences of the User Research Team at EBSCO Information Services as they set out to illuminate interactions with the search results page as users pursue their scholarly research. Learnings from extensive ethnographic studies will be shared, with insights about the complex feelings students have about searching for information and their diverse strategies for evaluating search results.