The paper concerns the development and design of retrieval thesauri. It explores the possibilities of improving user interaction by enriching retrieval thesauri by word associations. An experimental retrieval test is carried out in a real-life environment in order to explore and evaluate how associatively derived thesaurus terms affect user interactions and user satisfaction. The study shows that word associations may result in a usable and workable thesaurus. The method provides current, relevant and domain-specific information, making it possible to develop thesauri reflecting the knowledge domain in which they are acting.