What users do: The eyes have it

Paul Thomas, Falk Scholer, Alistair Moffat

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    Search engine result pages - the ten blue links - are a staple of document retrieval services. The usual presumption is that users read these one-by-one from the top, making judgments about the usefulness of documents based on the snippets presented, accessing the underlying document when a snippet seems attractive, and then moving on to the next snippet. In this paper we re-examine this assumption, and present the results of a user experiment in which gaze-tracking is combined with click analysis. We conclude that in very general terms, users do indeed read from the top, but that at a detailed level there are complex behaviors evident, suggesting that a more sophisticated model of user interaction might be appropriate. In particular, we argue that users retain a number of snippets in an "active band" that shifts down the result page, and that reading and clicking activity tends to takes place within the band in a manner that is not strictly sequential.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInformation Retrieval Technology - 9th Asia Information Retrieval Societies Conference, AIRS 2013, Proceedings
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    Event9th Asia Information Retrieval Societies Conference on Information Retrieval Technology, AIRS 2013 - Singapore, Singapore
    Duration: 9 Dec 201311 Dec 2013

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
    Volume8281 LNCS
    ISSN (Print)0302-9743
    ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


    Conference9th Asia Information Retrieval Societies Conference on Information Retrieval Technology, AIRS 2013


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