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Evaluating Semantic Search Query Approaches with Expert and Casual Users

Usability and user satisfaction are of paramount importance when designing interactive software solutions. Furthermore, the optimal design can be dependent not only on the task but also on the type of user. Evaluations can shed light on these issues; however, very few studies have focused on assessing the usability of semantic search systems. As semantic search becomes mainstream, there is growing need for standardised, comprehensive evaluation frameworks. In this study, we assess the usability and user satisfaction of different semantic search query input approaches (natural language and view-based) from the perspective of different user types (experts and casuals). Contrary to previous studies, we found that casual users preferred the form-based query approach whereas expert users found the graph-based to be the most intuitive. Additionally, the controlled-language model offered the most support for casual users but was perceived as restrictive by experts, thus limiting their ability to express their information needs...

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