CASE STUDY

Web Search Strategies of Crafters

Method — Contextual Interview

Visiting participants in their homes and studios was the key to getting rich details and vivid stories about web search experiences.

Recruited participants with custom postcards left at hacker/crafter spots around the Bay Area. Conducted semi-structured interviews in participants’ homes or studios, where we could easily reference both online and offline activities.

The physical context for web searches about craft information. (Photo Credit: Barbara Vredenberg)

The physical context for web searches about craft information. (Photo Credit: Barbara Vredenberg)

Research Questions

There is no shortage of information on the internet about how to make things. But can people find the information they need when they need it? And can they make sense of it?

Design Insights

Participants used creative strategies to expand the keyword space, rather than progressively narrowing their searches. A vertical search engine tailored to craft knowledge would make information like skills, timeframe, and materials searchable. The “fuzziness” of the search results would be adjustable, allowing users to see results just beyond their vocabulary.