Choice overload in search engine use?

Pawitra Chiravirakul, Stephen J Payne

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

10 Citations (SciVal)
411 Downloads (Pure)


Search engines typically return so many results that choosing from the list might be predicted to suffer from the effects of “choice overload”. Preliminary work has reported just such an effect [12]. In this paper a series of three experiments was conducted to investigate the choice overload effect in search engine use. Participants were given search tasks and presented with either six or twenty-four returns to choose from. The results revealed that the choice behaviour was strongly influenced by the ranking of returns, and that choice satisfaction was affected by the number of options and the decision time. The main results, from the third experiment, showed that large sets of options yielded a positive effect on participants’ satisfaction when they made a decision without time limit. When time was more strongly constrained, choices from small sets led to relatively higher satisfaction. Our studies show how user satisfaction with found information can be affected by processing strategies that are influenced by search engine design features.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '14 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, U. S. A.
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781450324731
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2014
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2014 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 26 Apr 20141 May 2014


ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2014


  • Choice satisfaction
  • decision behaviour
  • search engines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction


Dive into the research topics of 'Choice overload in search engine use?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this