To use math expressions in search, current search engines require knowing expression names or using a structure editor or string encoding (e.g., LaTeX) to enter expressions. This is unfortunate for people who are not math experts, as this can lead to an "intention gap" between the math query they wish to express, and what the interface will allow. min is a search interface that supports drawing expressions on a canvas using a mouse/touch, keyboard and images. We designed a user study to examine how the multimodal interface of min changes search behavior for mathematical non-experts, and discover real-world usage scenarios. Participants demonstrated increased use of math expressions in queries when using min. There was little difference in task success reported by participants using min vs. text-based search, but the majority of participants appreciated the multimodal input, and identified real-world scenarios in which they would like to use systems like min.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Search engines--Design; Mathematics--Data processing; User interfaces (Computer systems)--Design

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Human-Computer Interaction (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Information Sciences and Technologies (GCCIS)


Richard Zanibbi

Advisor/Committee Member

Michael Yacci

Advisor/Committee Member

Evelyn Rozanski


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TK5105.884 .W36 2013


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes