Visualization of Collaborative Faceted Search Results

Motivation for the Project

Imagine a medium-sized business has to decide on the purchase of computer equipment for its employees. The decision on what to purchase can have profound impact on employee productivity and business profitability and choices on options and specifications are therefore not easy to make. Typically, decision makers from several departments with varying priorities and skills are involved in the selection process. Faceted browsing can help decision makers: they can consider data from different conceptual dimensions and ncrementally refine a data view by restricting facet values such as price, technical attributes, or ratings.

Yet, even given a complete dataset of equipment options, the scenario above poses a number of challenges to regular faceted information seeking interfaces: (a) The decision makers will likely begin their investigation with a private exploration and selection. Afterwards, the results of this exploration, as well as facet values which led to them, have to be shown to the others and discussed. Mechanisms are, thus, required to share not only result sets but also facet values. (b) During a decision meeting, the shared use of an information seeking interface can help to advance the discussion and clarify options. Such an interface needs to be easily set up and allow participants to fluidly share, transfer, and manipulate facet values while working in a closely or loosely coupled fashion. Thus, an information seeking interface to support this scenario needs to be easily used in individual as well as collaborative information seeking and allow for an effortless transition between both.

Goals of the Project

The goal of the project is to develop a visualization that can support the display of collaborative faceted browsing results on a large screen as in the image above. The system should show the kinds of facets that multiple people have included in their current query as well as the overlap between their query results. The visualization should be able to support four people engaged in faceted browsing simultaneously.


  • The visualization should be implemented in C#. A back-end for faceted browsing has already been implemented that the student can take advantage of.
  • The communication about this project will be in English