Creative Interface Design For Information Seeking

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1 Creative interface design for information seeking Lee, S.S., Theng, Y.L, Goh, H.L.D., & Foo, S. (2004) Proc. 6 th Asia-Pacific Conference on Computer-Human Interaction (APCHI 2004) (Incorporating the 5 th ACM SIGCHI-NZ Symposium), Rotorua, New Zealand, June 29-July 2. Creative Interface Design For Information Seeking Lee, S.S., Theng, Y.L, Goh, H.L.D., & Foo. S. Division of Information Studies, School of Communication and Information Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Abstract. Inspired by Weisberg s argument that everyone is creative, and exists in varying degrees, this PhD proposal aims to investigate the relationship between creativity and information seeking, and explores implications for interface design with design features that might support users information seeking behaviours. A holistic model of creativity was proposed synthesizing established models in creativity. Based on the model, five approaches investigating relationships between creativity and information seeking were highlighted. Initial work carried out attempted to understand users information seeking behaviours to elicit supportive features. Discussion of on-going work is also presented to indicate approaches proposed to design, implement, and evaluate a prototype with design features to support information seeking. 1 Background and Motivation Traditional approaches to solving precision and recall problems seem inadequate in addressing users needs and intentions as they assume that users are competent information seekers and can specify their needs in queries, and that words used to describe documents are similar between indexers and users [5]. Hence, this PhD research proposes a novel way to address limitations in traditional information retrieval (IR) systems by incorporating design features in an IR interface to support users information seeking behaviours. This investigation is inspired by Weisberg s argument that creativity exists in everyone and is a result of ordinary thinking [14], and creativity varies in people and may have a relationship with information seeking. It can, hence, be logically inferred that every information seeker is creative, and the extent of a person s creativity influences his/her information seeking behaviour. Creativity can be defined from many perspectives. For example, creativity may be natural based on one s creative traits or creativity may be nurtured which is due to domain knowledge and information seeking skills. Here, we are concerned with nurtured creativity.

2 The proposed model differs from traditional information seeking models [e.g., 7] as it focuses on how design features in an IR environment, for example, providing collaboration features and contacts of experts [e.g. 12], may support information seeking. These features aim to support users information seeking behaviours, therefore, possibly addressing users needs and increasing quality of search results in terms of relevance and user satisfaction. It is hoped that this model may perhaps improve ways of developing systems and their interfaces with design features for supporting users information seeking behaviours. 2 Objectives, Deliverables, and Methodology Objectives, deliverables, and methodology to develop an IR interface with design features to support information seeking are described as follows: Objective 1 surveys limitations in traditional IR systems as well as definitions and models of creativity and information seeking. Deliverables: A critique of limitations of IR systems as well as definitions and models of creativity and information seeking are presented. Methodology: An extensive literature review is conducted to survey and understand limitations of IR systems, definitions, and models of creativity and information seeking. Objective 2 examines approaches to investigate relationships between creativity and information seeking and conducts pilot studies to understand these relationships. Deliverables: Different perspectives/approaches of investigating relationships between creativity and information seeking are presented. Methodology: By surveying established creativity and information seeking models, a mapping process is conducted to examine the different approaches to investigate relationships between creativity and information seeking. The mapping process involves analyzing and comparing similarities and differences between surveyed creativity and information seeking models. Objective 3 designs and implements a prototype with design features to support users information seeking behaviours. Deliverables: Propose a prototype with design features to support users information seeking behaviours. Methodology: Investigate design features that support users information seeking behaviours through techniques

3 such as literature reviews, focus groups, and empirical studies. Develop a prototype with design features that supports users information seeking behaviours. Objective 4 evaluates and refines the prototype. Deliverables: Propose users feedback and refine prototype to ensure it supports users information seeking behaviours. Methodology: Evaluate prototype based on users satisfaction and relevance of search results to task. 3 Contributions to Research This research aims to contribute to the fields of IR, information seeking, and humancomputer interaction (HCI). The survey of definitions and models of creativity provides scholars with new avenues of investigation on how creativity might help address limitations of traditional IR systems. Proposed approaches on investigating relationships between creativity and information seeking may benefit scholars by providing insights on different approaches of developing systems and interfaces for supporting users information seeking behaviours. 4 Work Done So Far 4.1 Limitations of IR Systems and Models of Creativity and Information Seeking To address Objective 1 and provide background for this work, limitations of traditional IR systems were reviewed. Traditional IR systems judge precision and recall based on a match between index and query terms. This mode of operation is the best-match principle [2]. However, this method is limited as it does not consider the contextual nature of human judgment [5], it assumes users can specify their needs in a query, and that words used between indexers and users are similar [2]. To provide foundations for understanding creativity and information seeking, 3 models of creativity and 3 models of information seeking were reviewed [10]. The models of creativity reviewed are the systems view of creativity, componential model of a creative process and the interactionists model of creative behavior. The models of information seeking reviewed are Wilson s model of information seeking behaviour, Kuhlthau s model of information search process, and Ells behavioural model of information seeking. The survey of limitations of IR systems provided insights on what features are currently lacking in IR interfaces and should be proposed to support users information seeking behaviours. The review of models of creativity and information seeking provided a better understanding of creativity and information seeking so that features to support creativity and information may be conceptually derived.

4 4.2 Approaches for Investigating Creativity and Information Seeking Holistic Model of Creativity To address Objective 2, we propose a holistic model of creativity [10] by synthesizing established models of creativity [e.g., [1]] as definitions of creativity differ. This model defines creativity from the following four perspectives and forms the definition of creativity for this work: The creative process. The creative process consists of four stages: i) Preparation. The individual collects all necessary data to solve the problem. ii) Incubation. The individual unconsciously works on the problem. iii) Illumination. Possible ideas start to surface to consciousness. iv) Verification. The idea is worked into a communicable form. The creative person. He/she should have imagination, independence, and divergent thinking. The creative product. The product should be novel and valuable. The creative environment. The environment should support collaboration as idea generation occurs out of relationships with others. Five Approaches for Investigating Creativity and Information Seeking The four perspectives indicated in the holistic model of creativity inspire the five approaches of investigating creativity and information seeking. The approaches are: Process approach. To accomplish an information seeking task, the creative person goes through various stages in information seeking. To investigate this perspective, it may be necessary to map established creativity models [e.g., [1]] to information seeking models [e.g., [7]]. This enhances understanding of information seeking by including concepts from creativity. Person approach. The extent of a person s creativity may affect his/her information seeking behaviour. Hence, it may be interesting to investigate if creativity is a product of nature or nurture and how his/her creativity may affect his/her information seeking behaviour. Environment approach. Features in an IR system may support/hinder a person s creativity and information seeking behaviour. This perspective may be investigated by mapping design features to interface design to support users information seeking behaviour. Product approach. The way the environment supports information seeking may affect the creativity of the product (i.e., quality of search results). To investigate this perspective, it may be interesting to compare the quality of search results obtained from IR systems with and without supportive features.

5 Task approach. To provide context for understanding users creativity and information seeking behavior, the task approach was included. Based on the task, the way a person exhibits his/her creativity and information seeking skills may vary. One way to investigate this perspective is to find out how different tasks affect the ways he/she exhibits creativity and information seeking. 4.3 Using Pilot Studies to Elicit Conceptual Design Features To address Objective 3, a mapping of established creativity models to information seeking models was conducted to provide understanding of information seeking with concepts from creativity [10]. Using this understanding, design features to support information seeking were brainstormed with 2 information specialists [8]. Initial proposed features were evaluated with 6 IR systems to examine if these systems provided proposed features to support information seeking. A pilot study was conducted to understand subjects information seeking behaviours while using Google to complete a task. Subjects interaction with Google and information seeking behaviours were analyzed using Claims Analysis [4] and Interaction Framework [6] to elicit design features for information seeking. Findings suggested that Google provides design features that could support information seeking. However, it does not provide an integrated environment. Hence, more can be done to possibly strengthen Google s support by incorporating other design features highlighted in our pilot study [9]. 5 On-going Work The second and third year of the PhD will concentrate mostly on the environment approach. This approach was selected as related works in creativity usually address users creative traits and provide an environment for the creative process to take place. These environments either support the creative process in a general manner [e.g. [3]] or provide support for the creative process in an artistic domain, such as product design and image manipulation [e.g. [13]]. Moreover, modern user interfaces do not explicitly support users creative process that requires experimentation, exploration of variations, and continual evaluation of one s progress. Instead, a linear progression through tasks is imposed, providing a poor fit for creative pursuits [13]. Our work differs from these works and attempts to address the nature of creative pursuits by developing an IR interface with design features that closely supports users information seeking behaviour which may be iterative and context dependent. In the next phase of the PhD, we will concentrate on Objective 3 involving design requirements. To make ideas concrete that interface with design features may better support users information seeking, we are exploring a variety of ways to capture design requirements for implementation of a prototype as proof of concept:

6 1. More detailed examination of established creativity and information seeking models to conceptually propose design features with information specialists. This is continued work done in the first year [8]. 2. Examine existing literature on creative design features. Shneiderman [12] proposes eight ways to improve software to support human creative processes. Selker [11] proposes general guidelines and issues to consider in interface design to improve users creativity. These works provide insights on design features and guidelines to consider when designing interfaces to support creativity. Some of these guidelines and features may be useful to support users information seeking behaviour and may be used in our work. 3. Observe users interacting with an IR system to understand their information seeking behaviours to elicit supportive design features. This will be an extension of the initial pilot study with more subjects involved [9]. Interviews may also be conducted to understand their needs and requirements. 4. Elicit design features by examining existing IR systems to see what features are lacking and may be included in our work. Finally, Objective 4 involves carrying out usability evaluations on the prototype Acknowledgements. I would like to thank my supervisors, Dr. Yin-Leng Theng and Dr. Dion Hoe-Lian Goh, and Professor Schubert Foo for their valuable feedback and comments through this research. References 1. Amabile, T. M. (1990). Within you, without you: The social psychology of creativity, and beyond. In M. A. Runco & R. S. Albert (Eds.) Theories of creativity (pp ). California, U.S.A: Sage Publications. 2. Belkin, N.J., Oddy, R. N. and Brooks, H., ASK for Information Retrieval: Part I. Background and Theory. Journal of Documentation, (2): p Burleson, W., Developing a Framework for HCI Influences on Creativity, Proc. HCII 2003, Vol. 2, Theory and Practice (Part II), C. Stephanidis, J. Jacko (Eds.), pp Carroll, J. (2000). Making Use: Scenario-Based Design of Human-Computer Interactions. The MIT Press. 5. Case, D. O. (2002). Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behaviour. California, USA: Elsevier Science. 6. Dix, A., Finlay, J., Abowd, G, and Beale, R. (1998). Human-Computer Interaction. London, England: Prentice Hall. 7. Ellis, D., Cox, D. and Hall, K. A Comparison of Information Seeking Patterns of Researchers in the Physical and Social Sciences. Journal of Documentation, (4), p

7 8. Lee, S. S., Theng, Y. L. & Goh, D. H. L. (2003). Creative Information Seeking and Information Retrieval Environments. Proc. ICADL 2003, p Lee, S. S., Theng, Y. L. & Goh, D. H. L. (2004). Creative Information Seeking and Interface Design. Proc. APCHI 2004, Paper accepted. 10. Lee, S. S., Theng, Y. L. & Goh, D. H. L. (2003). Creative Information Seeking Part I: A conceptual framework. Manuscript accepted for publication. 11. Selker, T., Fostering Motivation and Creativity for Computer Users, Proc. HCII 2003, Vol. 2, Theory and Practice (Part II), C. Stephanidis, J. Jacko (Eds.), p Shneiderman, B. (2002). Creativity Support Tools: A Tutorial Overview. Creativity and Cognition 2002, p Terry, M. and Mynatt, E. (2002). Recognising Creative Needs in User Interface Design. Creativity and Cognition 2002, p Weisberg, R. W. (1993). Creativity Beyond the Myth of Genius. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company.

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