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Robust Models of Mouse Movement on Dynamic Web Search Results Pages

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Understanding how users examine result pages across a broad range of information needs is critical for search engine design. Cursor movements can be used to estimate visual attention on search engine results page (SERP) components, including traditional snippets, aggregated results, and advertisements. However, these signals can only be leveraged for SER Ps where cursor tracking was enabled, limiting their utility for informing the design of new SER Ps. In this work, we develop robust, log-based mouse movement models capable of estimating searcher attention on novel SERP arrangements. These models can help improve SERP design by anticipating searchers’ engagement patterns given a proposed arrangement. We demonstrate the efficacy of our method using a large set of mouse-tracking data collected from two independent commercial search engines.

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