2014 Poster Sessions : The Last Click: Why Users Give up Information Network Navigation

Student Name : Robert West
Advisor : Jure Leskovec
Research Areas: Computer Systems
An important part of finding information online involves clicking from page to page until an information need is fully satisfied. This is a complex task that can easily be frustrating and force users to give up prematurely. An empirical analysis of what makes users abandon click-based navigation tasks is hard, since most passively collected browsing logs do not specify the exact target page that a user was trying to reach. We propose to overcome this problem by using data collected via Wikispeedia, a Wikipedia-based human-computation game, in which users are asked to navigate from a start page to an explicitly given target page (both Wikipedia articles) by only tracing
hyperlinks between Wikipedia articles. Our contributions are two-fold. First, by analyzing the differences between successful and abandoned navigation paths, we aim to understand what types of behavior are indicative of users giving up their navigation task. We also investigate how users make use of back clicks during their navigation. We find that users prefer backtracking to high-degree nodes that serve as landmarks and hubs for exploring the network of pages. Second, based on our analysis, we build statistical models for predicting whether a user will finish or abandon a navigation task, and if the
next action will be a back click. Being able to predict these events
is important as it can potentially help us design more human-friendly
browsing interfaces and retain users who would otherwise have given up navigating a website.

Joint work with Aju Scaria, Rose Philip, and Jure Leskovec

Bob obtained a Diplom degree in computer science from the Technical
University of Munich in his native Germany in 2007 and a Master's
degree in computer science from McGill University in 2010. He is
currently a third-year Ph.D. student in the InfoLab at Stanford
University, advised by Jure Leskovec. In his research, Bob has been working at the intersection of data mining, machine learning, and natural language processing to convert raw log data into meaningful insights on a number of human behaviors, ranging from navigation in complex networks to Wikipedia editing to food intake.