Fewer items on the results page of a Web search might be more appropriate for certain situations and users, according to a new study from researchers at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) in Finland. Working with Barry Schwartz at Swarthmore College, Antti Oulasvirta and Janne Hukkinen at HIIT had 24 people conduct searches with Google, but half returned 24 items on the results page and the rest returned six items. The participants returning six items on their results page were more satisfied with the choice and were more confident that it was correct.
The findings are consistent with research from the field of psychology, which indicates that a greater number of options can result in slower response and poor choice. The research, which could impact search engine design, will be presented at ACM's SIGIR 2009 conference, which takes place July 19-23 in Boston.
From Helsinki Institute for Information Technology
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