Modern Information Retrieval
Chapter 10: User Interfaces and Visualization - by Marti Hearst
The importance of human computer interaction is receiving increasing recognition within the field of computer science [NAP97]. As should be evident from the contents of this chapter, the role of the user interface in the information access process has only recently begun to receive the attention it deserves. Research in this area can be expected to increase rapidly, primarily because of the rise of the Web. TheWeb has suddenly made vast quantities of information available globally, leading to an increase in interest in the problem of information access. This has lead to the creation of new information access paradigms, such as the innovative use of relevance feedback seen in the Amazon.com interface. Because the Web provides a platform-independent user interface, investment in better user interface design can have an impact on a larger user population than before.
Another trend that can be anticipated is an amplified interest in organization and search over personal information collections. Many researchers are proposing that in future a person's entire life will be recorded using various media, from birth to death. One motivation for this scenario is to enable searching over everything a person has ever read or written. Another motivation is to allow for searching using contextual clues, such as `find the article I was reading in the meeting I had on May 1st with Pam and Hal'. If this ideais pursued, it will require new, more sophisticated interfaces for searching and organizing a huge collection of personal information.
There is also increasing interest in leveraging the behavior of individuals and groups, both for rating and assessing the quality of information items, and for suggesting starting points for search within information spaces. Recommender systems can be expected to increase in prevalence and diversity. User interfaces will be needed to guide users to appropriate recommended items based on their information needs.
The field of information visualization needs some new ideas about how to display large, abstract information spaces intuitively. Until this happens, the role of visualization in information access will probably be primarily confined to providing thematic overviews of topic collections and displaying large category hierarchies dynamically. Breakthroughs in information visualization can be expected to have a strong impact on information access systems.