Search engines are very effective at generating long lists of results that are highly relevant to user-provided query terms. But the lack of effective overviews presents challenges to users who seek to understand these results, especially for a complex task such as learning about a topic area, which requires gaining overviews of and exploring large sets of search results, identifying unusual documents, and understanding their context. Categorizing the results into comprehensible visual displays using meaningful and stable classifications can support user exploration and understanding of large sets of search results. This extended abstract presents a set of principles that we are developing for search result visualization. It also describes an exploratory study that investigated categorized overviews of search results for complex search tasks within the domain of U. S. government web sites, using a hierarchy based on the federal government organization.
Kules, Bill and Shneiderman, Ben, "Categorized Graphical Overviews for Web Search Results: An Exploratory Study using U.S. Government Agencies as a Meaningful and Stable Structure" (2004). SIGHCI 2004 Proceedings. 17.