This paper aims to introduce a prototype system called SAFQuery (Simple And Flexible Query interface). In many existing Web search interfaces, simple and advanced query processes are treated separately that cannot be issued interchangeably. In addition, after several rounds of queries for specific information need(s), it is possible that users might wish to re-examine the retrieval results corresponding to some previous queries or to slightly modify some of the specific queries issued before. However, it is often hard to remember what queries have been issued. These factors make the current Web search process not very simple or flexible.
In SAFQuery, the simple and advanced query strategies are integrated into a single interface, which can easily formulate query specifications when needed in the same interface. Moreover, query history information is provided that displays the past query specifications, which can help with the memory load.
The authors' experiments by user evaluation show that most users had a positive experience when using SAFQuery. Specifically, it is easy to use and can simplify the Web search task.
The proposed prototype system provides simple and flexible Web search strategies. Particularly, it allows users to easily issue simple and advanced queries based on one single query interface, interchangeably. In addition, users can easily input previously issued queries without spending time to recall what the queries are and/or to re-type previous queries.