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Investigating usability of search engines in small screen devices : a systems engineering approach

In today's world, desktop computers have become such an integral part of
our lives that it is practically impossible to imagine anything being done without the
aid of computers. As the world becomes more and more fast paced and users feel a
need to have computers on the go, desktop computers have reduced in size without
compromising on performance. The late 90s saw the desktop segment make room
for the laptop and the small screen devices (SSD) segment, which demonstrated
faster growth rates than the desktop segment. The SSD segment, however, had a
growth rate that was nowhere near the combined growth rate of desktop and laptop
computers. Portability of SSD was one factor that stood out among many others to
account for the unprecedented growth rate of the SSD segment that the computer
industry had witnessed. One of the most important, albeit under-represented and
neglected, factors of a product is its usability. Usability, or the ease with which a
product can be used, can be considered to be one of the most important factors in
the success or failure of product. Determining the usability of small screen devices
presents a bigger challenge, primarily because of the screen size of the SSD. The
process of usability engineering aims to solve some/most of the problems that the
SSD has. To make up for the drawbacks of usability engineering, systems
engineering was used in this thesis, since both disciplines have considerable overlap
in their processes. A growing number of SSD users use the Internet in one form or
the other. The Internet has grown rapidly in the last decade, and nearly everyone
using the Internet has come across a search engine sometime or other. Although
research has been limited to the area of desktop search engines, there has not been
enough research done in the area of search engines for small screen devices. This
thesis compares two different search engines on small screen devices to find the
better between the two. To do so, it takes a close look at the usability engineering
approach from a system engineering perspective revealing several deficiencies,
which may have hitherto gone unnoticed. It also shows a method to integrate several
key Systems Engineering components into the usability engineering approach. / Graduation date: 2006
Date22 February 2006
CreatorsMoulik, Anand
ContributorsFunk, Kenneth H. II
Source SetsOregon State University
Detected LanguageEnglish

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