Dania Bilal, professor of information sciences, came to UT in 1997. Her research focuses on children’s information seeking behavior in web search engines and digital libraries, among others, as well as the usability and design of these tools from children’s perspectives in multicultural settings.
In late 2013, Bilal published a paper in the Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology on the readability of Google search results pages (SERPs) for children, which revealed a mismatch between the Reading Level Google assigns to SERPs (i.e., Basic, Intermediate, Advanced) and the reading scores calculated using both the Flesch Reading Level and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level formulae. To further this work, Bilal submitted a research proposal to Google for funding. In August 2014, she received a Google Faculty Research Award in the amount of $41,363 for the proposal, Child-friendly SERPs: Towards better understanding of Google search results readability by Children. The Co-PI on this proposal is Jacek Gwizdka, assistant professor at the University of Texas-Austin. The main goal of this research is to modify Google’s Reading Level metric based on children’s assessment and reading experiences.