In web search, information about times between user actions has been shown to be a good indicator of users' satisfaction with the search results. Existing work uses the mean values of the observed times, or fits probability distributions to the observed times. This implies a context-independence assumption that the time elapsed between a pair of user actions does not depend on the context, in which the first action takes place. We validate this assumption using logs of a commercial web search engine and discover that it does not always hold. For between 37% to 80% of query-result pairs, depending on the number of observations, the distributions of click dwell times have statistically significant differences in query sessions for which a given result (i) is the first item to be clicked and (ii) is not the first. To account for this context bias effect, we propose a context-aware time model (CATM). The CATM allows us (i) to predict times between user actions in contexts, in which these actions were not observed, and (ii) to compute context-independent estimates of the times by predicting them in predefined contexts. Our experimental results show that the CATM provides better means than existing methods to predict and interpret times between user actions.
ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2016)
31 Jul 2016