Visualizing activity traces to support collaborative literature searching

Kumaripaba Athukorala, Luana Micallef, Chao An, Aki Reijonen, Jaakko Peltonen, Tuukka Ruotsalo, Giulio Jacucci

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Following recent advances in visual interfaces for search, we investigate how to visualize activity traces to support collaborative information-seeking. We implemented a prototype system that visualizes traces of three types of activities (queries typed, articles bookmarked, and interested keywords) on top of a recent visual search system. The current interface of the system provides an interactive keyword visualization to support exploratory search. We designed two icons to visualize user interactions with the keywords and articles. We also implemented a time line to explicitly display the issued queries and additional details about the interactions. We conducted a longitudinal user study to evaluate the usability of these visualizations. We found that the visualization of traces of issued queries and bookmarked articles help the users to better monitor the progress of the collaborators, increase collaboration, and reassure their findings. Traces of interested keywords support sub-topic identification. Furthermore, activity traces of collaborators help the users to learn about the system features. The findings and the novel collaborative system provide valuable insights and tools into future research on designing interfaces for collaborative information-seeking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVINCI 2017 - 10th International Symposium on Visual Information Communication and Interaction
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450352925
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventInternational Symposium on Visual Information Communication and Interaction - Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: 14 Aug 201714 Aug 2017
Conference number: 10


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Visual Information Communication and Interaction
Abbreviated titleVINCI


  • Collaborative information seeking
  • Visual interfaces for search


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