Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Information Systems and Technology (CGU)

Publication Date



Databases and Information Systems | Medicine and Health Sciences


Today’s search engines provide a single textbox for searching. This input method has not changed in decades and, as a result, consumer search behaviour has not changed either: few and imprecise keywords are used. Especially with health information, where incorrect information may lead to unwise decisions, it would be beneficial if consumers could search more precisely. We evaluated a new user interface that supports more precise searching by using query diagrams. In a controlled user study, using paper-based prototypes, we compared searching with a Google interface with drawing new or modifying template diagrams. We evaluated consumer willingness and ability to use diagrams and the impact on query formulation. Users had no trouble understanding the new search method. Moreover, they used more keywords and relationships between keywords with search diagrams. In comparison to drawing their own diagrams, modifying existing templates led to more searches being conducted and higher creativity in searching.


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© 2009 American Medical Informatics Association

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