Explicit Passive Analysis in Electronic Catalogs

We consider example-critiquing systems that help people search for their most preferred item in a large catalog. We compare 6 existing approaches in terms of user or system-centric, implicit or explicit use of preferences, assumptions used and their behavior in underconstrained and overconstrained situations. We consider several types of explicit passive analysis to guide the users in their search, that is, information offered to the user about his current search but without any action taken by the system. We suggest that such a user-centric system together with the right analysis makes the users feel more confident in their decision and reduces session time and cognitive effort. We have implemented a prototype to evaluate the impact of explicit passive analysis in (1) a query-building and (2) a preference-based approach.

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