IEEE Computer, 21, 1, 70-80. Also Sparks of Innovation in Human-Computer Interaction, Shneiderman, B., Ed., Ablex (June 1993) 103-121.
For hypertext and electronic information systems to be effective, designers must understand how users find specific facts, locate fragments of text that satisfy information queries, or just browse. Users' information retrieval depends on the cognitive representation (mental model) of a system's features, which is largely determined by the conceptual model designers provide through the human-computer interface. Other determinants of successful retrieval include the users' knowledge of the task domain, information-seeking experience, and physical setting. In this article we present a user-centered framework for information-seeking that has been used in evaluating two hypertext systems. We then apply the framework to key design issues related to information retrieval in hypertext systems.