Time pressure and system delays in information search

Anita Crescenzi, Diane Kelly, Leif Azzopardi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

21 Citations (Scopus)


We report preliminary results of the impact of time pressure and system delays on search behavior from a laboratory study with forty-three participants. To induce time pressure, we randomly assigned half of our study participants to a treatment condition where they were only allowed five minutes to search for each of four ad-hoc search topics. The other half of the participants were given no task time limits. For half of participants' search tasks (n=2), five second delays were introduced after queries were submitted and SERP results were clicked. Results showed that participants in the time pressure condition queried at a significantly higher rate, viewed significantly fewer documents per query, had significantly shallower hover and view depths, and spent significantly less time examining documents and SERPs. We found few significant differences in search behavior for system delay or interaction effects between time pressure and system delay. These initial results show time pressure has a significant impact on search behavior and suggest the design of search interfaces and features that support people who are searching under time pressure.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIGIR '15 Proceedings of the 38th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • system delays
  • search behavior
  • time pressure

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