Paper: Constructing an interaction behavior model for web image search

A full paper on Constructing an interaction behavior model for web image search by Xiaohui Xie, Jiaxin Mao, Maarten de Rijke, Ruizhe Zhang, Min Zhang, and Shaoping Ma was presented at the International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research & Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2018) in Ann Arbor, MI, USA, and was published in the conference proceedings.


User interaction behavior is a valuable source of implicit relevance feedback. In Web image search a different type of search result presentation is used than in general Web search, which leads to different interaction mechanisms and user behavior. For example, image search results are self-contained, so that users do not need to click the results to view the landing page as in general Web search, which generates sparse click data. Also, two-dimensional result placement instead of a linear result list makes browsing behaviors more complex. Thus, it is hard to apply standard user behavior models (e.g., click models) developed for general Web search to Web image search.

In this paper, we conduct a comprehensive image search user behavior analysis using data from a lab-based user study as well as data from a commercial search log. We then propose a novel interaction behavior model, called grid-based user browsing model (GUBM), whose design is motivated by observations from our data analysis. GUBM can both capture users’ interaction behavior, including cursor hovering, and alleviate position bias. The advantages of GUBM are two-fold: (1) It is based on an unsupervised learning method and does not need manually annotated data for training. (2) It is based on user interaction features on search engine result pages (SERPs) and is easily transferable to other scenarios that have a grid-based interface such as video search engines. We conduct extensive experiments to test the performance of our model using a large-scale commercial image search log. Experimental results show that in terms of behavior prediction (perplexity), and topical relevance and image quality (normalized discounted cumulative gain (NDCG)), GUBM outperforms state-of-the-art baseline models as well as the original ranking. We make the implementation of GUBM and related datasets publicly available for future studies.