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BBL: Exploring Information-Triage: Speculative interface tools to help college students conduct online research

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HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing)


In many ways, the promise of the Internet has been overshadowed by a sense of overload and anxiety for many users. The production and publication of online material has become increasingly accessible and affordable, creating a confusing glut of information users must sift through to locate exactly what they want or need. Even a fundamental Google search can often prove paralyzing.The concept of information-triage may help mitigate this issue. Information-triage is the process of sorting, grouping, categorizing, prioritizing, storing and retrieving information in order to make sense and use of it. This work examines the role of design in the online search process, connects it to the nature of human attention and the limitations of working memory, and suggests ways to support users with an information-triage system. This talk will focus on a set of three speculative online search interfaces and user-testing sessions conducted with college students to explore the possibilities for information-triage and future interface prototypes and testing.


Liese Zahabi is a graphic/interaction designer and Assistant Professor of Graphic/Interaction Design at the University of Maryland in College Park. She received her Master of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Eastern Michigan University. She has been working as a designer for thirteen years, and teaches courses in interaction design, motion design, typography and advanced graphic design. Liese’s academic research focuses on search as a cognitive and cultural process and artifact, and how the design of metaphoric interfaces can change the experience of search tasks. Her creative design work is also metaphorical, and explores how the nature of search manifests itself in visual patterns and sense-making, and how language and image intersect within the context of the Internet.