T. Kajiyama

Aoyama Gakuin University (JAPAN)
A previously reported plant navigation system for based on the ‘Concentric Ring View’ search interface has been improved based on a usability test with 16 school teachers, and an educational application for iPad has been developed for use in school science lessons. This interface is like a planisphere and provides flexible retrieval for multi-faceted metadata. Users can combine attribute values as search keys and adjust them by evaluating retrieved results in real time. Seven attributes were defined as search facets: flower color, flower shape, flower attachment, leaf shape, leaf attachment, blooming season, and place found.

The facet names are listed on the outermost ring, the category ring. When a facet name on the category ring is tapped, another ring, the key ring, appears inside it. This key ring carries the attribute values that can be used as search keys for the selected facet. The bottom part of the key ring indicates the facet’s search key. The retrieved results are displayed alternately from left top to right bottom inside the rings. User could adjust search keys by rotating key rings and browse retrieved results by scrolling the area of retrieved results. Users can recognize the number of retrieved results from the range of the scrolling. We provided combining search keys by using multiple key rings.

We performed a usability test with 16 school teachers and identified three problems for use in school classroom. To solve the problems, we improved the operations and displays for browsing the next set of retrieved candidates and for specifying search facets and added an operation for bookmarking favorite plants. To evaluate the improved navigation method, we performed a usability test with 50 high school students on the assumption of group work in a classroom. We divided participants into twelve groups which consists of four or five students. Participants listened to an explanation of how to use the application for 10 minutes, and searched for the names of three plants in a questionnaire sheet and recorded the final attribute values used as search keys for 10 minutes.

We prepared a questionnaire sheet like a diary to simulate a field work such that students find plants, search the name and learn features of the plants with this iPad application. Each plant on a questionnaire sheet has three information: date found, short comments such that where we found it, and three photos taken in different viewpoints. In the group work, they were allowed to talk with each other in their group.

While finding the plant names, they used multiple search keys and the bookmarking function and compared two or three plants in detail. They used the tab under the right window many times. The number of groups who were able to find the correct plant name was twelve for the first plant, eleven groups for the second plant and ten groups for the third plant. Two plants on the questionnaire sheet were as same as the plants in the task of previous usability test, and only 87.5% and 68.8% of the participants who answered correctly for the first and second plant. We confirmed that the improved navigation method enables students to search plant names intuitively and learn features of the plants easily.