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Flamenco Image Browser: Using Metadata to Improve Image Search During Architectural Design. Ame Elliott Group for User Interface Research (GUIR) & Dept. of Architecture University of California, Berkeley. Problem Statement .

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flamenco image browser using metadata to improve image search during architectural design

Flamenco Image Browser:Using Metadata to Improve Image Search During Architectural Design

Ame Elliott

Group for User Interface Research (GUIR) & Dept. of Architecture

University of California, Berkeley

problem statement
Problem Statement
  • Architects begin new projects by looking at images of prior projects
    • How are elementary schools put together?
    • What’s new in patio materials?
  • Current image search interfaces are not helpful for image browsing in the early phase of design
    • Rely on well-formulated textual queries
    • Ignore context of architecture
scope of the project
Scope of the Project
  • The Flamenco Image Browser is one customization of a toolkit for domain-specific search (the Flamenco projects)
  • The Flamenco Image Browser is one component of my dissertation

Understanding Architects’ Work Practices

(ethnography, task analysis, interviews)

Prototyping Tools .

Hardware: Digital Desk

Software: Image Search UI

Evaluation

Quantitative

Qualitative

scope of the project4
Scope of the Project
  • The Flamenco Image Browser is one customization of a toolkit for domain-specific search (the Flamenco projects)
  • The Flamenco Image Browser is one component of my dissertation

Understanding Architects’ Work Practices

(ethnography, task analysis, interviews)

Prototyping Tools .

Hardware: Digital Desk

Software: Image Search UI

Evaluation

Quantitative

Qualitative

flamenco image browser
Flamenco Image Browser
  • Interface to a collection of architectural images using metadata about the images to support search
  • Metadata about the images provides
    • Query previews giving hints about possible next actions
    • Ways of broadening or refining search terms
why use metadata
Why Use Metadata?
  • Open questions about its utility
    • How to use metadata not well understood
  • Not an obvious thing to do for images
    • Contrasts with automated content analysis
    • Defies conventional wisdom
      • If a picture is worth 1,000 words, let the pictures speak for themselves
      • Professional architects have different needs than curators
      • The thumbnail is the whole document, not like text search using a title to stand in for a long article
faceted metadata
Faceted Metadata

Image:

Architect:

Period:

Location:

Concept:

Planalto Palace Parti Communiste Francais Pantheon

Oscar Neimeyer Oscar Neimeyer Jacques-Gabriel Soufflot

20th Century 20th Century 17th & 18th C.

Brasilia Paris Paris

Stone Curvilinear Stone

faceted metadata8
Faceted Metadata

Image:

Architect:

Period:

Location:

Concept:

Planalto Palace Parti Communiste Francais Pantheon

Oscar Neimeyer Oscar Neimeyer Jaques-Gabriel Soufflot

20th Century 20th Century 17th & 18th C.

Brasilia Paris Paris

Stone Curvilinear Stone

evaluation methodology
Evaluation Methodology
  • Solicit feedback from architects to determine if faceted metadata is helpful and how to present it
    • Not evaluating if the current metadata in the system is the right metadata
  • Lo-Fi evaluation of paper prototype
    • 1 hour one-on-one with 3 professional architects
    • Walk-through interactions on a paper computer, users think-aloud (audio recorded), questions about the experience
  • Informal study of live version
    • 1 hour one-on-one with 9 architects /grad students, 2 tasks (audio recorded) and a survey
slide11

100 images of France in the 1,000 results for stone

734 images of France in the entire collection

results of lo fi study
Results of Lo-Fi Study
  • The difference between searching within results and changing to a new search confused users
    • The “breadcrumb” did not help users orient themselves when browsing results
    • Home >> Gehry, Frank >> Berlin

Home >> Berlin

    • Users were surprised at the outcome and could not anticipate which they were getting (refine or expand).
  • Image search is exploratory, not reductive
    • Specific textual queries not important
      • “If I knew what I wanted to type in the box I’d just go get it myself.”
    • Expanding search more important than refining

is different than

goals for study of live web site
Goals for Study of Live Web Site
  • Make iterative changes to the alternatives to identify useful aspects of the UI – not statistical analysis
  • Learn to what extent the metadata is useful for searching
    • How much text is too much?
    • What kinds of queries will the users do?
  • Explore how to clarify searching within results vs. starting a new search
informal study of live version
Informal Study of Live Version
  • Comparison- a form-based UI to the same collection of images
  • Task 1 – Free form search
    • Participants told they are helping to test an image search engine
    • Asked to talk about a project they’re working on and something they’d like to find
    • Let them go at it and try to find images they’re interested in – they can ask any questions they want but no formal instructions given
  • Task 2 – Treasure hunt
    • Participants given paper copies of 3 images (but no metadata) and told to find them (range from easy to hard)
  • Exit survey
about the system
About the System
  • Web browser used to view Cold Fusion generated pages, queries made to a mySQL database
  • 36,000 images from the UC Berkeley Architecture Slide library
  • 5 facets of metadata about each image
    • Image title, architect, period, location, and concept
    • Shallow hierarchy for results in architect, period, and location
    • Concept facet is from the Getty Art and Architecture thesaurus - a 40,000 term hierarchical thesaurus of descriptors of the built environment – this hierarchy not tested in the live version

Building Materials

Masonry Finishing Materials

Stonework Brickwork Shingles

results metadata is helpful
Results: Metadata is Helpful
  • Very positive feedback about Flamenco
    • All 9 participants named the metadata in the search results area as their favorite aspect of Flamenco
  • Metadata was successful at giving hints about where to go next
    • Perceived as useful “These are places I can go from here.”
results more metadata please
Results: More Metadata Please
  • Participants asked for more metadata
    • Although there were complaints about the contents of the metadata, users still wanted more
      • Longer lists of options (more hints)
      • Users wanted more control to make very specific searches
  • Half the participants requested the ability to control order of results with metadata
    • Juxtapose visible images 2 different ways:
      • Overview (one image from each project) vs. like together ( all images of a project next to each other)
    • Different than ranking for text retrieval (precision, recall), but ordering does matter
results complaints
Results: Complaints
  • The UI was not successful at clarifying searching within results vs. starting a new search
    • Only 2 of the 9 participants understood the distinction without discussion – but they want to do both
  • The 1/3 of the participants who couldn’t find a treasure hunt image felt that Flamenco was slow
    • Corroborates findings that perceived system speed is about finding what you want (Spool ‘00)
enthusiasm for metadata
Enthusiasm for Metadata
  • Contradicted my suspicions that a sledgehammer and pick- through-the-rubble approach would be preferable
  • No-one thought there was too much text
    • Adding more text preferable to adding another row of images
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Metadata is useful for exploratory tasks
    • Good at giving hints about where to go next
  • Architects want to use metadata to get more control
    • Of results display
    • Build complex queries
  • Sometimes the right word is worth more than many pictures
contributions
Contributions
  • Increase understanding of what makes a good search interface
  • Provide insights about how image search differs from text search
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • Thanks to
    • Marti Hearst my advisor
    • Andy Edmonds for excellent coding
    • Andy Chou for help with the database
    • the Berkeley Museum Informatics Project for access to the image collection
    • the Flamenco project team for search ideas
    • and the members of GUIR for helpful feedback
related work
Related Work
  • “Berrypicking” model of information seeking (Bates)
  • Information scent (Pirolli)
  • Query previews (Plaisant & Shneiderman et al)
  • QBIC & Blobworld (content analysis)
architects image use practices
Architects’ Image Use Practices
  • Architects rely on personal image collections and libraries of print media
  • Images emerge as relevant due to their juxtaposition with other images