Influence of training and stage of search on gaze behavior in a library catalog faceted search interface



This study examined how searchers interact with a web-based, faceted library catalog when conducting exploratory searches. It applied multiple methods, including eye tracking and stimulated recall interviews, to investigate important aspects of faceted search interface use, specifically: (a) searcher gaze behavior—what components of the interface searchers look at; (b) how gaze behavior differs when training is and is not provided; (c) how gaze behavior changes as searchers become familiar with the interface; and (d) how gaze behavior differs depending on the stage of the search process. The results confirm previous findings that facets account for approximately 10–30% of interface use. They show that providing a 60-second video demonstration increased searcher use of facets. However, searcher use of the facets did not evolve during the study session, which suggests that searchers may not, on their own, rapidly apply the faceted interfaces. The findings also suggest that searcher use of interface elements varied by the stage of their search during the session, with higher use of facets during decision-making stages. These findings will be of interest to librarians and interface designers who wish to maximize the value of faceted searching for patrons, as well as to researchers who study search behavior.