SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: [Sigia-l] A search & filter ques
Re: [Sigia-l] A search & filter question
From: Avi Rappoport (analyst_at_searchtools.com)
Date: Thu Nov 14 2002 - 13:11:43 EST
At 10:09 PM +1100 11/14/02, Donna Maurer wrote:
>OK, back to what we do best...
>I'm redesigning an Intranet and am at the point of designing the
>search interface. The majority of my users know nothing about
>searching beyond the fact that you put a few words in and get
>mountains of documents.
Start by making sure that your search engine returns a really good
set of 10 documents before anything else. People are getting used to
the "mountains" of documents and very very rarely go past the first
page, so in some ways, it's less of an issue than it used to be.
If you have a search engine now, check the search logs and extract
the most popular queries. Rich Wiggins has some great statistics on
query distribution: they all show that a few queries that get tons of
searches, so concentrate on that. See how well the search engine
does with these, and tweak it if you can.
You can also supplement search results with manual recommendations,
where you define some useful matches for searches and they come up
first. Human judgement is the key here.
> Getting them to filter before they click the go button just won't happen.
Zyia recommended forcing people to choose using a dialog or script, I
think this is a mistake. Every time I've seen it tried, users
*hated* it. They want instant gratification and the Web has trained
them to expect it. Unless there is some overwhelming business reason
to force people to go through a dialog or wizard, don't do it.
>I'm looking for examples of sites that offer clever filtering alongside
>the search results. Three that I have seen are:
>- BBC (www.bbc.co.uk) offers results from the web, all BBC or BBC
>- vivisimo.com offers a filter based on frequently found words in the
>- an example from the Microsof Intranet that Lou showed at NNg
>(and may be in the Polar Bear, but it is at work) offered a filter based
>on part of site (which is what I'm thinking of doing).
Offering search "zones" in results is a fairly common solution, and
it is easy to implement if you base it on servers or directory paths.
I think it makes a lot of sense for intranets, as there are some
pretty clear distinctions based on the IA, even when it's not formal.
I will warn you that most people will never notice the tabs or radio
buttons, but the ones who do notice will appreciate it.
MondoSearch has an interesting approach, showing various section
headings and the first few results from each, and letting people
drill down if they want to see more.
As for content-based clustering, there are some nice tools out there,
including Vivisimo, Recommend, H5 and Endymion ZNow. It's a big
investment and there are a fair number of stupid computer mistakes,
so you have to decide how important these features are.
Hope that helps, please let me know if you have any questions,
Search Server Industry Analysis from Search Tools Consulting
(510) 845-2551 -- <mailto: analyst_at_searchtools.com>
Complete Guide to Search Engines for Web Sites and Intranets
When replying, please *trim your post* as much as possible.
*Plain text, please; NO Attachments
ASIST Annual Meeting:
ASIST SIG IA website: http://www.asis.org/SIG/SIGIA/index.html
Searchable list archive: http://www.info-arch.org/lists/sigia-l/
Sigia-l mailing list -- post to: Sigia-l_at_asis.org
Changes to subscription: http://mail.asis.org/mailman/listinfo/sigia-l
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2
: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:55:28 EST