What happens when search engines become intelligent?
Then they have to become smart.
“We’re talking on and on about making content more intelligent these days – format-agnostic, self-describing with semantic metadata, and modular – for reuse, for omnichannel, for delivering the right content to the right user, etc. But what about search engines themselves?”
(Noz Urbina a.k.a. @nozurbina ~ Urbina consulting) ★
A new era for search: The zero moment-of-truth is now defined by shared customer experiences
Search and brand, the marketeers heaven. Find and experience, the designers heaven.
“Search is a natural step in the discovery process. In a web world, search engines offer a lens into a qualified and structured view to help online consumers focus and make informed decisions. With Google dominating search, marketers concentrated on improving search ranking through tried and true techniques to ensure that what they were marketing earned a coveted position in the likely search results a customer might consider clicking.”
(Brian Solis a.k.a. @briansolis)
Faceted sorting: A new method for sorting search results
New, well not really. Since S. R. Ranganathan (1892–1972) we know about facets, for classication, search and find.
“In this article, we’ll present some of the test findings on this usability issue along with 3 ways address it, including a new sorting method, Faceted Sorting, which is related to (but should not be confused with) Faceted Search or Faceted Search Filters.”
(Jamie Appleseed a.k.a. @jamieappleseed ~ Baymard Institute)
Search is not enough: Synergy between navigation and search
I would call it the difference between the algorithms and the synapses.
“When websites prioritize search over navigation, users must invest cognitive effort to create queries and to deal with the weak implementations of site search. (…) Site search is vital and can save the day for those users who have well defined goals and a good understanding of the information space in which they are searching. However, if you’re considering pushing search on your site at the expense of navigation, think again. Navigation serves important functions: it shows people what they can find on the site, and teaches them about the structure of the search space. Using the navigation categories is often faster and easier for users than generating a good search query. Plus, many times site search does not work well or requires users to have a good understanding of its limitations.”
(Raluca Budiu ~ Nielsen Norman Group)
Three guidelines for search engine No Results pages
Empty SERPs are pages with a purpose too.
“When users try a search and get no results, there’s a high risk of site abandonment. But paying attention to design details can turn this potential disaster into an opportunity for content discovery.”
(Kathryn Whitenton ~ Nielsen Norman Group)
The future of Google search
Cards, tags and organizing, the Google way.
“The idea is that each card is a single atomic contextual piece of information; essentially, a suggestion, a prompt, a call to action.”
(Graham Hunter a.k.a. @MarketerGraham)
14 ways to improve the UX of on-site search results
Like enterprise software applications, SERPs are the pages UX forgot.
“An effective site search tool is hugely important tool for ecommerce as it’s a common way for shoppers to navigate sites and find products. In fact up to 30% of visitors will use the site search tool and these tend to be highly motivated shoppers who know exactly what they’re looking for. The speed in which results are returned is very important, but there are also many other factors that influence the overall user experience and could be the difference between making a sale or losing a potential customer.”
(David Moth a.k.a. @DavidMoth ~ Econsultancy)
The great shift in search
Search is less important than find and use. Engines are just level one.
“Search is evolving to fit the needs of users who don’t just want a web site, but the actual answer to the question driving the search. To stay on top semantic search technologies are key.”
(Charles Silver ~ GigaOm)
Insights into site search
With optimal design, search goes down, browse goes up.
“This crossover presents a challenge for site search: how do we meet the advanced needs of professional users without confusing members of the public who just want a simple answer? We can’t rely on the page they searched from to define which type of user they are; some people expect to search only within that department, but others have landed in the wrong place and need to find the general results. One of our priorities for this project was to start making search better for advanced users, without getting in the way of less experienced users.”
(Tara Stockford a.k.a. @tarastockford ~ Government Digital Service)
Findability is a content problem, not a search problem
Search, find, and use. But then the fun part starts: the information experience.
“Findability is a constant theme in content strategy and technical communications, yet it seems to me that people often treat findability as a problem existing outside the content. Findability is addressed using SEO tactics and by devising sophisticated top-down navigational aids, such as taxonomies and faceted navigation, but it is seldom seen as issue to be addressed in the content itself. I believe this focus on top-down findability is wrong. Top-down finding aids have their place, but the majority of the focus should be bottom up, and it should start with the content itself.”
(Mark Baker ~ Every page is one)
Designing search: Displaying results
Search, the most undervalued digital conversation.
“Search is a conversation: a dialogue between user and system that can be every bit as rich as human conversation. Like human dialogue, it is bidirectional: on one side is the user with their information need, which they articulate as some form of query.”
(Tony Russell-Rose a.k.a. @tonygrr ~ UX magazine)
Converting search into navigation
This space metaphor gets really to its limits.
“Most users are unable to solve even halfway complicated problems with search. Better to redirect their efforts into more supportive user interfaces when possible.”
(Jakob Nielsen ~ NNGroup)
From the big screen to the little screen: The evolving relationship between TV and search
Always pleasantly surprised when digital connects previously disparate disciplines and practices. Now, it’s television et al. and the search, find, and use trinity.
“As a digital analyst, it’s my job to study how technology disrupts business markets and models. As an aspiring social scientist, I also study technology’s impact on culture and behavior. These two worlds are colliding with increasing velocity as each day passes. One of the trends I’ve been following over the last several years is the relationship between TV, smartphones, tablets and PCs.”
(Brian Solis a.k.a. @brainsolis)
What Can SEO Learn From UX?
Or what algorithms can learn from heuristics.
“User Experience plays an early, fundamental role in guiding basic decisions that shape websites and digital products, and is increasingly afforded a seat at the table, so to speak. The reason UX is such a juggernaut is because of the multiple disciplines it encompasses—design, information architecture, usability engineering, interface design, content strategy, and research. In spite of its relative youth, UX as a discipline has grown exponentially in stature over the last few years.”
(Jessica Greco a.k.a. @grecasaurus ~ iAcquire)
Taxonomy, Metadata, and Search
All the meta nodes in the conceptual layer explained.
Notes from Seth Earley’s Confab Workshop ~ “(…) your table of contents, which somewhat expresses the hierarchy, order, and relationships within your information, helps the reader understand at a glance the whole of the information. Even if the user doesn’t navigate his or her way through this sometimes maze-like TOC structure, not having the table of contents at all makes users uneasy. If you replace that table of contents with another sort of organization, something that doesn’t express the semantic relationships of the information components, your users may feel lost.”
(Tom Johnson ~ I’d Rather Be Writing)
Organizing digital information for others
The other is the most significant subject in your professional live.
“When we interact with web and intranet teams, we find many struggling to move beyond conceptual-level discussions on information organization. Hours on end are spent on discussing the meaning of “metadata”, “controlled vocabulary” and “taxonomy” without any strategic understanding of how everything fits together. Being so bogged down at this level they fail to look beyond to the main reason for their pursuit—organizing information for others (the end users) so that they can find the information easily.”
(Maish Nichani a.k.a. @maish ~ PebbleRoad)
Using Tags to Increase Findability
Tagging content, references or other BLOBs systematically is not for everybody an easy task. Most are just lazy.
“Although I’ve explored different strategies for findability, it seems that faceted classification through the attachment of metadata (such as tags) to resources remains the most compelling strategy. It can suit a diversity of audiences, purposes, and needs.”
(Thom Johnson a.k.a. @tomjohnson ~ I’d Rather Be Writing)
Browse versus Search: Which Deserves to Go?
Finding nuggets in the dance between Ms. Browse and Mr. Search.
“(…) there are two kinds of people in the world: Searchers and Browsers. Searchers can browse when required, and Browsers can search when required. Neither is drawn to the other. (…) With these changes, both Browse and Search are improved, making everyone happy.”
(Bruce ‘Tog’ Tognazzini a.k.a. @asktog)
Site Search Analytics: A Conversation with Lou Rosenfeld
Adding some more buzz to the launch.
“Lou Rosenfeld’s newest book, Search Analytics for Your Site: Conversations with Your Customers, has been the subject of more prelaunch buzz than most UX books have gotten this year. It seemed everyone was tweeting, talking, or speculating about it before the ink had even had a chance to dry. And, true to the hype, this book delivers in spades. If you read one book this year to hone your craft, add value to your UX practice, or enable you to help your clients, this is the one! Lou recently found some time in his very hectic schedule to sit down and talk with me about his book and the burgeoning practice of site search analytics (SSA).”
(Kristina Mausser a.k.a. @krismausser ~ UXmatters)
A Taxonomy of Enterprise Search
“To design better search and discovery experiences we must understand the complexities of the human-information seeking process. Numerous theoretical frameworks have been proposed to characterize this complex process, notably the standard model, the cognitive model and the dynamic model. In addition, others have investigated search as a strategic process, examining the various problem solving strategies and tactics that information seekers employ over extended periods of time. In this paper, we examine the needs and behaviours of varied individuals across a range of search and discovery scenarios within various types of enterprise. These are based on an analysis of the scenarios derived from numerous engagements involving the development of search and business intelligence solutions utilizing the Endeca Latitude software platform. In so doing, we extend the classic IR concept of information-seeking to a broader notion of discovery-oriented problem solving, accommodating the much wider range of behaviours required to fulfil the typical goals and objectives of enterprise knowledge workers.”
(Tony Russell-Rose a.k.a. @tonygrr ~ Information Interaction) – courtesy of jameskalbach