Just give me what I want: How people use and evaluate music search

Abstract

Music-streaming platforms offer users a large amount of content for consumption. Finding the right music can be challenging and users often need to search through extensive catalogs provided by these platforms. Prior research has focused on general-domain web search, which is designed to meet a broad range of user goals. Here, we study search in the domain of music, seeking to understand how and why people use search and how they evaluate their search experiences on a music-streaming platform. Over two studies, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 27 participants, asking about their search habits and preferences, and observing their behavior while searching for music. Analysis revealed participants evaluated their search experiences along two dimensions: success and effort. Importantly, how participants perceived success and effort differed by their mindset, or the way they assessed the results of their query. We conclude with recommendations to improve the user experience of music search.

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