A search query normally results in a set of records requiring examination in order to determine their relevance and the system’s interface should facilitate this function. Results must be listed clearly, should, ideally be sorted according to expected relevance (i.e. compliance with the original query) and support relevance feedback. Common objectives for results presentation have been the subject of specialist research (Shneiderman, 1998):

  • Consistency of data display (layout, formats, fonts, colours, terminology, etc.)
  • Efficient information assimilation by the user (proper layout and spacing, comprehensive labels, etc.)
  • Minimal memory load on user
  • Compatibility of data display with data entry
  • Flexibility for user control of data display (several display formats, sorting, etc.)