A Graphical Filter/Flow Representation of Boolean Queries: A Prototype Implementation and Evaluation

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1998-10-15

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One of the powerful applications of Boolean expression is to allow users to extract relevant information from a database. Unfortunately, previous research has shown that users have difficulty specifying Boolean queries. In an attempt to overcome this limitation, a graphical Filter/Flow representation of Boolean queries was designed to provide users with an interface that visually conveys the meaning of the Boolean operators (AND, OR and NOT). This was accomplished by implementing a graphical interface prototype that uses the metaphor of water flowing through filters. Twenty subjects with no experience with Boolean logic participated in an experiment comparing the Boolean operations represented in the Filter/Flow interface with a text-only SQL interface. The subjects independently performed five comprehension tasks and five composition tasks in each of the interfaces. A significant difference (p < 0.05) in the total number of correct queries in each of the comprehension and composition tasks was found favoring Filter/Flow. (Also cross-referenced as CAR-TR-627)

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