UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)

Usability and Subject-based Access on the Web: A Usability Approach to Improving the User Experience in Web Directories

February 2, 2010
Nan Jiang

Web directories are hierarchically organised website collections that offer users subject-based access to the Web. They played a significant part in navigating the Web in the past but their role has been weakened in recent years due to their cumbersome expanding collections. This book presents a unified framework combining the advantages of personalisation and redefined directory search for improving the usability of Web directories. First, it extracts a formal definition of the rigidity of hierarchies from their characteristics and justifies why hierarchies are still better suited than facets in organising Web directories. Second, it identifies misfits causing poor usability in Web directories based on the discovered rigidity of hierarchies. Third, it proposes a solution to tackle the misfits and improve the usability of Web directories which has been experimentally proved to be successful.

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