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Searching for Software Learning Resources using Application Context

Michael Ekstrand, Wei Li, Tovi Grossman, Justin Matejka, George Fitzmaurice

ACM Symposium on User Interface Software & Technology
2011

Abstract

Users of complex software applications frequently need to consult documentation, tutorials, and support resources to learn how to use the software and further their understanding of its capabilities. We examine the role of the user’s current context in a particular application in searching for help resources.

Our contributions include 1) an analysis of the various aspects of application context and how they may be used in retrieving software help artifacts with web browsers; 2) exploring ways to represent interactional context in a manner suitable for submitting queries to a web search engine; 3) a prototype implementation; 4) user study of a context-aware web search system; concluding with 5) an agenda for further research.

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Software Learning

The Learning project aims to investigate advanced techniques for assisting users in learning complicated applications. We are interested in a range of investigations from the scientific study of the human learning process to prototyping novel interaction techniques for improving the general learning mechanisms that can be applied to all applications.

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