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November 21, 2007

EBSCO Visual Search Redesign Coming Soon!

In early 2006, EBSCO introduced a third search option to EBSCOhost users, aptly named Visual Search.  The graphically-appealing user interface was well-received by visual learners, providing zoomable frames populated with circles and squares which represented subject groupings, citations, and articles.

At the end of calendar year 2007, EBSCO will implement an advanced, newly-designed Visual Search option, continuing the graphically-appealing premise, with added punch and functionality.  Users will enjoy the bonus of being able to select either of two Visual Search interface styles, presented in Adobe's Flash format.  Library administrators who have access to the EBSCOadmin administrative tool will be able to control which of the two styles will serve as the default for their institution's subscription to EBSCOhost.

One of the two styles will include colorful blocks, each of which will represent a record or article related to the initial search criteria.  Sorting and filtering options by date and relevance will provide users with the ability to focus and manage search results easily and efficiently.

The second user interface style will feature rows, or columns of results, where each item represents a subject, or article:

The Columns interface style will let users conduct a search and see resulting rectangles (which represent articles neatly formed in columns), zip down the screen. Users will be able to see more articles by gliding their mouse to the edge of the screen.  As with the block design, results will be "stacked" by publication or subject, sorted by relevance or date, or filtered using a date range slider bar.

Users will be able to select subject clusters to narrow a search and display a new column of results. When a user clicks on a subject, the previous sets of results will be retained, and the subjects will be illuminated and connected to form a bright “breadcrumb” trail to assist users in visualizing the path taken to reach their end results. This design will streamline the process of backtracking and embarking on a new path, for Visual Search users.

Click here if you want to see what these will searches will look like.