BogieLand Business Case: Information Design
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Business Case Information Design

Search is an important way to find information, especially for knowledge workers.

The challenge for information designers is to match the simplicity of search interfacing with the complexity of technology capabilities searching terabytes of information. To make complexity understandable.

User involvement in the design process and the creation a new brand within an existing brand family resulted in a valuable search tool and new revenue streams.

Information design improves finding, understanding, and using information in knowledge intensive environments. Searching through large information spaces is a common way people try to find answers to questions. Scientists are knowledge workers in need of the most up-to-date and reliable information. The Web plays a pivotal role in their search activities. To consolidate its market position, a scientific publisher decided to provide the best search capabilities on the Web for scientists and professionals integrated with its electronic resources of paid content.

Information Design of Web Search for Scientific Purposes

The Client

A scientific publisher with a pro-active electronic publishing strategy

A global scientific publisher with a strong position in the academic and professional world has a long term business strategy to move from paper to electronic publications. The proliferation of the Web makes this strategy even more relevant. Due to time-consuming peer reviews, printing and distribution processes, scientists increasingly start to publish pre-prints on the Web themselves. As a result of its business strategy, the client initiates the design and development of an ambitious Web search engine for free and paid scientific information.

The Problem

Create a competitive user experience for web search

The work of scientists and professionals is information intensive. Traditionally, they use paper resources, such as abstracts/indexes, journals, and books. In recent years, the Web has become an valuable search tool for them. With a specialized Web search engine, the publisher wants to remain its brand position in the academic and library world and to retain its customers. The design challenge is to match a user experience competing with general purpose search engines with search results of an optimal level of scientific relevancy. The relevancy of the search results is determined by highly complex backend technologies. The search experience must be easy, simple, and usable.

The Process

Prototype and user test various design iterations

  • To identify the information needs of users and types of information available.
  • To interview scientists and professionals on their brand perception and search activities.
  • To understand the search technologies of the backend processes.
  • To document electronic search behaviour in general and on the Web in specific.
  • To prototype and user test various search interface components.
  • To integrate the visual design, branding, and usability aspects of the search interface.

The Results

An award winning Web search interface

The search engine provides capabilities highly appreciated. A strong easy-of-use and an explicit brand proposition integrates user and business requirements. The available search features match various levels of search skills. Simplicity as a leading design principle proves valuable. Search results are presented in customized formats matching user preferences. Evaluation studies show that the search engine provides an optimal combination of interface simplicity and relevant results. The search engine has been nominated and awarded multiple times as the best search engines on the Web for scientific information.