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Pattern Group J. Making Site Search Fast... > Boolean Expressions Are Hard to Unde...

Boolean Expressions Are Hard to Understand

Boolean searches are searches that use the terms and and or. For example, the search “computer and monitor” would find all Web pages containing both computer and monitor, whereas “computer or monitor” would find all Web pages containing either computer or monitor.

It is easy to add Boolean searches to a search engine. However, many studies show that customers find Boolean searches difficult to understand. The basic problem stems from how we use and and or in everyday conversation. For example, whereas a person would say, “I want to search for information about cats and dogs,” the correct search term for computers is actually “cats or dogs.” Help your customers by providing a search engine that does not use these Boolean operators at all, or by providing a search form that has explicit phrasing, such as Google's “with all of the words” and “with any of the words.”


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