MyWebSteps: Aiding Revisiting with a Visual Web History
Do TV., Ruddle RA.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Computer Society. All rights reserved. This research addresses the general topic of 'keeping found things found' by investigating difficulties people encounter when revisiting webpages, and designing and evaluating a novel tool that addresses those difficulties. The research focused on occasional revisits - webpages that people have previously visited on only one day, a week or more ago (i.e. neither frequently nor recently). A 3-month logging study was combined with a laboratory experiment to identify 10 underlying causes of participants' revisiting failure. Overall, 61% of the failures occurred when a webpage had originally been accessed via search results, was on a topic a participant often looked at or was on a known but large website. Then, we designed a novel visual Web history tool to address the causes of failure and implemented it as a Firefox add-on. The tool was evaluated in a 3-month field study, helped participants succeed on 96% of revisits, and was also used by some participants to review and reminisce about their 'travels' online. Revised versions of the tool have been publicly released as the Firefox add-on MyWebSteps.