Supporting searching for mobile clients

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Supporting searching for mobile clients


Author: Chan, Lui
Title: Supporting searching for mobile clients
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2005
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Mobile communication systems
Browsers (Computer programs)
Wireless Application Protocol (Computer network protocol)
Wireless communication systems
Department: Dept. of Computing
Pages: viii, 206 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: In the near future, mobile devices (i.e. mobile clients) will become indispensable tools in all walks of life. As Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) and mobile phones converge and there is an increase in the number of wireless stations for computer network connections, searching using a mobile device will be one of the most popular modes of usage. There has been substantial research in effective means of entering queries using mobile devices for searching information. However, there has not been much research about the presentation and organization of information in the retrieval list. Therefore, we propose the use of hierarchical access structure to support searching using mobile devices and this study examines the use of hierarchical access structure to assist the searching of information in the retrieved documents using a mobile device, as well as identifying the preferred user interface feature sets. Since effective hierarchical access depends on the effective user interface elements (i.e. the access structure and user interface features), a survey was conducted to examine (i) whether users (i.e. the subjects of the survey) prefer the hierarchical or list access structure when they have information overloading situations like accessing the retrieval list and (ii) what user interface feature sets are preferred by the users. It was found that the users prefer the use of hierarchical access structure for accessing information using mobile device (PDA). Also, the relationships between the user preference of the overall user interface and the user preference of those individual features of the corresponding user interface were found. Through the survey, six preferred feature sets were identified. In addition to the survey, a Contextual Inquiry was carried out to find out the user requirements of using mobile devices (specifically PDA) for searching. After running the experiments for Contextual Inquiry, an affinity diagram was used to collect and organize the qualitative observations and feedback from the subjects. A search behavior flow chart was also obtained as a summary of user searching behaviors. Based on the results of the survey and the Contextual Inquiry, a hierarchical access interface was designed. An experiment was carried out to measure whether the list access structure based on Google's PDA version is more effective than our hierarchical access by using TREC-6 queries for the English information retrieval. We found that hierarchical access is preferred and is more effective under specific circumstances over list based access. In practice, we believe that hierarchical access can be a complimentary rather than a competitive alternative to list access, so that the navigation of the retrieval list can be improved as a whole.

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