We have provided a model of the objective characteristics of information-seeking tasks . This model permits a precise definition of the objective variables that may play a role during an information-seeking task, the hypothetical effect of each of these variables and a hypothetical hierarchical organisation of these effects. These characteristics also permit us to assess the different information-seeking tasks that can be performed in terms of their information search performance. These results clearly deserve validation in a better controlled experiment with larger groups of subjects who are more representative of the user population and which would permit the statistical processing of the information. We therefore intend to conduct a meta-analysis of the empirical results available in this field in order to verify whether they bear out our hypothesis.
However, this model only takes account of one dimension of task description and ignores the user's model and the context within which the activity is performed, i.e. two considerations that play a role during an information-seeking task.
Furthermore, when developing our protocol, we assigned binary values to our variables. It would be interesting to design an alternative hierarchical organisation with more than two mode values for each variable. Such an organisation would enable us to provide an even more precise description of information-seeking tasks and consequently formulate more precise hypotheses concerning the characteristics which might indicate the cases in which an adaptive interface would be useful or even cases in which a given communications object (mobile phone, PDA, laptop etc.) permits an effective information search using a particular protocol (Web, Wap).
However, our model does seem to provide a relevant description on "information mining" tasks. It can therefore provide us with a framework enabling a comparison of search tasks performed using different communications objects. Our aim is to design a new experiment in which we intend to compare search tasks based on different media. These search tasks will be developed on the basis of our classification while bearing in mind that we will probably need to assign more than two values to our variables. This experiment will permit us to identify the respective capabilities of the various communications objects and the usefulness of adaptive interfaces.