On the utility of HCI practices in improving a commercial information retrieval system


Human-computer interaction (HCI) issues are an important but often overlooked part of software application development. InRAD’s Automated Knowledge Discovery System (Basu, Merrel, Fellbaum, Talbert, Kolpack, Honeycutt, Alonso, & Bloom, 2005) featured numerous Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 components under the hood, but users of the system frequently reported difficulties in actually leveraging the power and capabilities of the system. By partnering with a team of graduate students studying HCI from a local university, InRAD was able to identify and address a wide array of usability issues and improve user satisfaction. The HCI processes that were employed as well as the result of those efforts, rebranded as the InSpire system, are described in this case study as a guide for others to follow.


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