School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

The Interaction Design of complex, Multi-search Interface Components

Supervisor: Dr Tony Stockman

Research group(s): Centre for Digital Music, Cognitive Science

While the simple, single search or "find" mechanism routinely provided in standard interfaces to wordprocessors, spreadsheets etc. is often adequate, there are times when it is desirable to perform multiple, simultaneous searches or searches for multiple terms occurring together. This project will investigate ways of implementing more sophisticated search mechanisms in an intuitive way, so that they form a natural and easily understood part of routine interaction. This is different from the development of systems specifically to support complex information seeking, as the focus is the design and integration of complex searches within every day systems and tasks. Issues to be examined include the breaking down of complex search expressions and the implementation of these in a way that is immediately apparent to users, and the processing and presentation of complex multi-criteria search results that provides a well thought through match to the users task and context. The project will involve the iterative development of multi-search interface prototypes, and result in detailed recommendations of evaluated means of implementing multi-search functions. At least two different PhD projects are possible, focusing respectively on mobile and desktop platforms.