Multimodal Web Navigation with Instruction-Finetuned Foundation Models

Hiroki Furuta
Ofir Nachum
Yutaka Matsuo
Shane Gu
Izzeddin Gur
International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR)(2024)


The progress of autonomous web navigation has been hindered by the dependence on billions of exploratory interactions via online reinforcement learning, and domain-specific model designs that make it difficult to leverage generalization from rich out-of-domain data. In this work, we study data-driven offline training for web agents with vision-language foundation models. We propose an instruction-following multimodal agent, WebGUM, that observes both webpage screenshots and HTML pages and outputs web navigation actions, such as click and type. WebGUM is trained by jointly finetuning an instruction-finetuned language model and a vision encoder with temporal and local perception on a large corpus of demonstrations. We empirically demonstrate this recipe improves the agent's ability of grounded multimodal perception, HTML comprehension, and multi-step reasoning, outperforming prior works by a significant margin. On the MiniWoB, we improve over the previous best offline methods by more than 45.8%, even outperforming online-finetuned SoTA, humans, and GPT-4-based agent. On the WebShop benchmark, our 3-billion-parameter model achieves superior performance to the existing SoTA, PaLM-540B. Furthermore, WebGUM exhibits strong positive transfer to the real-world planning tasks on the Mind2Web. We also collect 347K high-quality demonstrations using our trained models, 38 times larger than prior work, and make them available to promote future research in this direction.

Research Areas