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Advances in Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2008, Article ID 612679, 10 pages
Research Article

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Keywords: Exploring Mobile Image-Based Web Searching

1Department of Design Sciences, Lund University, Sölvegatan 26, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
2Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, Scheelevägen 16, 221 88 Lund, Sweden
3Epineer, Stora Varvsgatan 1, 211 19 Malmö, Sweden

Received 3 April 2008; Accepted 29 August 2008

Academic Editor: Regina Bernhaupt

Copyright © 2008 Konrad Tollmar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Using images of objects as queries is a new approach to search for information on the Web. Image-based information retrieval goes beyond only matching images, as information in other modalities also can be extracted from data collections using an image search. We have developed a new system that uses images to search for web-based information. This paper has a particular focus on exploring users' experience of general mobile image-based web searches to find what issues and phenomena it contains. This was achieved in a multipart study by creating and letting respondents test prototypes of mobile image-based search systems and collect data using interviews, observations, video observations, and questionnaires. We observed that searching for information based only on visual similarity and without any assistance is sometimes difficult, especially on mobile devices with limited interaction bandwidth. Most of our subjects preferred a search tool that guides the users through the search result based on contextual information, compared to presenting the search result as a plain ranked list.