Searching for Software Learning Resources Using Application Context


Michael Ekstrand, Wei Li, Tovi Grossman, Justin Matejka, and George Fitzmaurice. 2011. Searching for Software Learning Resources Using Application Context. In Proceedings of the 24th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST '11). ACM, pp. 195–204. DOI 10.1145/2047196.2047220. Acceptance rate: 25%. Cited 56 times. Cited 48 times.

I conducted this work while interning at Autodesk Research.


Users of complex software applications frequently need to consult documentation, tutorials, and support resources to learn how to use the software and further their understand-ing of its capabilities. Existing online help systems provide limited context awareness through “what’s this?” and similar techniques. We examine the possibility of making more use of the user’s current context in a particular application to provide useful help resources. We provide an analysis and taxonomy of various aspects of application context and how they may be used in retrieving software help artifacts with web browsers, present the design of a context-aware augmented web search system, and describe a prototype implementation and initial user study of this system. We conclude with a discussion of open issues and an agenda for further research.


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