IcicleQuery: A Web Search Interface for Fluid Semantic Query Construction
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3rd International Workshop on Visualization and Interaction for Ontologies and Linked Data (VOILA), (2017)

In their need to find specific entities, lay users often rely on traditional full text searches that render, in comparison to the capabilities of the Semantic Web, an inferior approach. However, the access to semantic data is complicated by technological barriers that non-experts have to overcome. Despite the attempt to make the Semantic Web more accessible, only few user interfaces have been created so far that combine the ease of keyword search with the structuredness of relational queries. None of them focuses explicitly on lay users. This paper presents an approach for closing this gap by fluidly combining the ability of full text search and semantic search in a compact and comprehensible query interface. Therefore, we designed and implemented an innovative web-based interface based on the concept of Icicle Plots retrieving search results from a hybrid data server. A first qualitative study revealed that the interface provides an expressive but still approachable way of querying for specific entities and their accompanied information.
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