Challenges faced by Live Search in creating a Compelling experience

July 8th, 2008

I have decided to share my Scholarship winning essay on Live Search.

In Challenges faced by Live Search in creating a Compelling experience my argument is that Live Search has been hindered by lack of a compelling experience.  Compelling experience is driven by flow.

You can read the whole essay online below as ipaper.  You can also download a pdf copy.  Either way enjoy 🙂

My key findings (for those less akin to reading academic material):

  • Model put forward by Hoffman, Novak was used to examine Live Search’s challenge in creating a compelling experience
  • Compelling experience is driven by flow.  In order to create flow need to stimulate variables: Skill/Control, Challenge/Arousal and Telepresence/TimeDistortion
  • Skill/Control: Skill is users capacity for action.  Control is perceived ability to successfully navigate.
  • Challenge/Arousal: Challenge is the users opportunities for action.  Arousal is a correlate of the challenge.  Challenges must be perceived as of a level capable by the user.
  • Telepresence/TimeDistortion:  Telepresence is the perception that the virtual environment that the user is engaging in is more real or dominant that the physical environment.  TimeDistortion is the perception of time passing quickly.
  • Lowering challenge barriers increases arousal | Users need to feel challenged (but not perceive the challenge as being too hard)
  • Low load times and response to inputs encouraged great interaction
  • Relevance of results indirectly influences perception of challenge
  • Live search is lacking in creating a compelling experience.  For example, compare the search for ‘waterblaasting’ on Google vs Live Search.  Now try ‘blastin123455’.
  • For the former, the challenge provided is easier, click the correct misspelling.  The latter again is easier, how does a 12 year old understand ‘try rephrasing or using synonyms’.  Given 30% of internet users have low literacy! (reference in essay)

Practical wise:

  • Keep language barriers low
  • Ensure your service responds fast to input
  • Make the process as streamlined as possible, Google providing the correct spelling as an option to search for vs no result, shows the ease at which users can slip into flow on google vs live search.
  • Keep page load times down.
  • Ensure challenge barriers are low (easy to user interface)
  • Relevance of information is always crucial

To remain competitive in today’s environment this level of analysis is required.

Scholarship Winning you say?!? Yes i have decided to return to University.  How? Why? Well I can do my Masters in 1 year at St Andrews in Scotland (yes, the golf course university aka third oldest university  in the world aka allows focus on Marketing and Web Technologies).  I submitted this essay and have received a 2000 pound scholarship.  Yay!

However I need to raise approximately another 20,000 pounds to cover fees, living costs and other incremental costs.  (Did i mention in order to get my visa i need to do this by August 1st!).  If you would like to support a kiwi making things happen through donations, linking it, passing the post on, or sponsoring me contact at [email protected].  Be great if you could help me get some attention….

Otherwise enjoy! I love being able to share my research / thoughts with you all 🙂

Update: Join the conversation on FriendFeed: Creating a Compelling Experience | Twitter @bwagy

Note: This essay was constrained to 2000 words so there is always room for more analysis / research for those that are keen!

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4 Responses to “Challenges faced by Live Search in creating a Compelling experience”

  1. » Helpful Links » links for 2008-07-09 Says:

    […] Challenges faced by Live Search in creating a Compelling experience Some great thoughts on what makes a compelling online experience, by Ben Young, who is a legendary guy I met finally in person on Monday, after discovering him through Twitter. (tags: experience usability users search branding) Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  2. Matt Says:

    Congratulations on being awarded the Scholarship.
    I have not yet read the full essay, but it sounds interesting.
    Best of luck raising the $20,000.

  3. Charles Knight Says:

    May I republish your excellent article, with full attribution, on AltSearchEngines, the ReadWriteWeb network blog for search engines?


    Charles Knight, editor

  4. Time Distortion | bwagy Says:

    […] Creating a Compelling Experience […]

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