Browsing vs Searching

The literature on browsing develops a portrait of a complex, open-ended, embodied human experience, rather than the input-output exchange that characterises traditional information retrieval.


Browsing is an iterative process that entails scanning or glimpsing a field of potential resources, and selecting or sampling items for further investigation and evaluation.


Browsing entails movement through a field of resources; Kwasnik stipulates "movement in a connected space". This movement depends in turn on orientation: a knowledge of the "structure and content" of the browsing field


We may browse with or without a goal in mind, and goals may change as the process unfolds.

Generous Interfaces for Digital Cultural Collections

  • touching on Embodied Cognition is interesting, browsing happens with the body, in a space
  • browsing is open-ended compared to information retrieval
evolving search

(source: "The design of browsing and berrypicking techniques for the online search interface")

  • currently UIs require users to "play every chord", while "improvisation" would be like a conversation, similarly to how the open-ended "browsing" works like
Szymon Kaliski © 2021