The Scent of a Site:
A System for Analyzing and Predicting Information Scent, Usage, and Usability of a Web Site

Ed Chi, Xerox PARC.

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University May 5, 2000

Designers and researchers of users' interactions with the World Wide Web need tools that permit the rapid exploration of hypotheses about complex interactions of user goals, user behaviors, and Web site designs. We present an architecture and system for the analysis and prediction of user behavior and Web site usability. The system integrates research on human information foraging theory, a reference model of information visualization and Web data-mining techniques. The system also incorporates new methods of Web site visualization (Dome Tree, Usage Based Layouts), two new algorithms from a new predictive modeling technique for Web site use (WUFIS and IUNIS), and new Web usability metrics. The research was done with Peter Pirolli and James Pitkow.

Ed H. Chi is a research scientist at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center's User Interface Research Group. He has been working on Information Visualization and User Interfaces since 1993. His area of research and expertise is software systems for computer-human interaction and 2D or 3D user interfaces. His most current project is the study of information ecology---understanding how users navigate and understand information environments, including the Web. His Ph.D. project was "Spreadsheet for Visualization" -- a data exploratory tool using a 'spreadsheet metaphor' that allows each cell to hold an entire data set with a full-fledged visualization. In the past, he has also worked on computational molecular biology, and recommendation systems. Ed received his Ph.D.
1996-1999, M.S. 1994-1996, and B. Comp Sci. 1992-199


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