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Learnability and Perceived Benefits of Parallel Faceted Browsing: Two User Studies

By Anthony Jameson, Adrian Spirescu, Tanja Schneeberger, Edit Kapcari, and Sven Buschbeck (2013)

Proceedings of the Hypertext 2013 Workshop on Intelligent Exploration of Semantic Data, Paris.


Following up on work presented at IESD 2012 introducing the paradigm of multifocal exploration of semantic data, the present paper reports on two user studies of prototypes that instantiate parallel faceted browsing—a generalization of faceted browsing that enables multiple interrelated queries and their results to be displayed at the same time. In the first study, with the “World Design Capital Helsinki” demonstrator, 100 participants remotely tested the prototype for a few minutes each, performing simple tasks without explicit instructions about how to operate the system. The majority of participants were able to understand the system after engaging in trial and error, but even the successful ones found it rather unfamiliar-looking at first; and a feeling of unfamiliarity appears to have discouraged the less successful subjects from exploring the interface in the first place—a result that indicates a need to provide explicit explanation and motivation for the benefit of users who are less inclined to engage in trial and error. The participants spontaneously noticed a variety of benefits of parallel faceted browsing relative to existing interaction paradigms. In the second study, which involved a different instantiation of parallel faceted browsing in the domain of food and recipes, results concerning learnability and perceived benefits were generally consistent with those of the first study. Subjective ratings revealed mostly positive evaluations of the demonstrator, though a minority of participants stopped working with it before they perceived its benefits.


The following papers discuss the prototype that was evaluated in this user study, and they include links to the prototype:

The independent German-language prototype discussed more briefly in the last part of the paper can be accessed via


Paper:  [PDF File]

BibTeX entry

  year = {2013},
  author = {{Jameson}, Anthony and
            {Spirescu}, Adrian and
            {Schneeberger}, Tanja and
            {Kapcari}, Edit and
            {Buschbeck}, Sven},
  title = {Learnability and Perceived Benefits of Parallel Faceted Browsing: Two User Studies},
  booktitle = {{{P}roceedings} of the Hypertext 2013 Workshop on Intelligent Exploration of Semantic Data},
  address = {Paris}}