A Fresh Look at Graphical Web Browser Revisitation using an Organic Bookmark Management System

A Fresh Look at Graphical Web Browser Revisitation using an Organic Bookmark Management System

Siu-Tsen Shen (National Formosa University, Taiwan) and Stephen D. Prior (Middlesex University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1628-8.ch003
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With roughly a third of the world’s population now having access to the internet, the area of web efficiency and its optimal use is of growing importance to all online users. We are approaching a tipping point where the majority of people will have spent more time online than offline. With this in mind, the function of revisitation, where a user wants to return to a website that they have visited in the recent past, becomes more important. Current static, textual-list approaches developed within the latest versions of mainstream web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome leave much to be desired. This chapter suggests a new approach via the use of organic, visual, and contextual cues to support users in this vital task area.
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Generally speaking, web browsers provide short term revisitation with the functions of Back and Forward, and long term revisitation with the functions of Bookmarks (Favorites) and History. Several research studies have indicated that the Back button is more often used, compared to the Forward button. The Back button made up of 35.7% of actions by Catledge and Pitkow (1995), 31.7% of actions by Tauscher and Greenberg (1997), and 14.3% of actions by Weinreich et al. (2006). The Forward button only made up 1.5% of actions from the research by Catledge and Pitkow (1995), 0.8% of actions by Tauscher and Greenberg (1997), and 0.6% of actions by Weinreich et al. (2006). Latest research has shown that the use of the Back and Forward buttons has been in decline over the last decade. The reason for this is that they have their natural limitations to support revisitation, because of their temporal mechanism, which only allows a certain amount of the recent visited pages.

For long-term revisitation, the function of Bookmarks offers the management system for the users to store their desired links. It heavily relies on personal efforts to categorize and organize. It is a common experience that users have to spend a lot of time on retrieval, and might not be able to succeed in finding the webpage from their big collection of Bookmarks. When getting frustrated, most users would rather launch a search engine in order to re-find the lost information. Current bookmark management systems depend on either directory or keyword mechanisms for labeling bookmarks. The retrieval of information could become very difficult, if they have not been well organized.

The History function is supposed to allow users to easily track their previously visited web pages. For example, Internet Explorer 9 has combined Bookmarks with RSS feed, whereby the user could sort history lists up to 999 days by site name, most visited sites, order visited today, date and search. However, the textual list of history has its drawbacks; it is often the case that users face the same experience as Bookmarks in that the required websites could not be recovered within the history list. Several recent studies conducted by the authors have concluded that a high proportion of users do not know how to use these features, or even that they exist.

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