Chapter 1

The User

“Man is a being in search of meaning.”

— Plato

We begin where every discussion of design should: with the user. Although the entire book is about crafting user-centered search solutions, Chapter 1 homes in on the human mind itself. We want to know what makes people tick. What are the cognitive processes that govern how information is perceived, stored, and retrieved? What are the individual differences between how people learn, analyze information, and approach problems? By applying insights from cognitive psychology, we’ll be able to better understand how users approach the tricky problem that is search.

The rest of Part 1 deals with situated users: their goals (Chapter 2), context (Chapter 3), and modes of interaction (Chapter ...

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