I do like the concept that you have with the information scent, the semantic mapping. I think it definitely ties into the mental model that a user has when they approach search and they are doing a query. They’re looking for things that come back to match what they have on their mind, what they are looking for in the results, so the more they actually see those search terms and things they are having in their mind, in terms of what they’re expecting to see, the more relevant the search is going to be for them.
Reference: An interview by Gord Hotchkiss of SearchEngineLand
So, what’s the challenge for Yahoo for search in the future, if you were looking at your whiteboard of the things that you’re tackling in 2007? We talked a little bit about social search, but as far as the user’s experience, what is the biggest challenge that has to be cracked over the next year or two?
We’ve been touching on that and I think the biggest challenge is really disambiguating intent. Really trying to understand what does the user want when they enter a few words into the search box. It’s not a lot to work with, obviously. So the biggest challenge is understanding the intent and giving them what they’re looking for, and doing that in the most effective way we can. Yes, probably not anything new but I’d say that is the biggest challenge.