The term “findability” refers to a solution that provides meaningful and accurate information to consumers (personas) that proactively supports business decisions.
Once CSF #1, simplify the storage and management of content, has been addressed and solved, it will then be important to aggregate, disseminate and deliver that information to consumers in a meaningful and accurate manner.
At a minimum, findability should address the following:
- A consistent taxonomy for navigation through sites and content.
- Aggregate views of information to support common business contextual needs.
- Produce relevant search results within the scope and context of business user’s needs.
As the results of user interaction and usability tests have shown, Intranet users have a tendency to point and click their way to content versus using search. For users to quickly and easily navigate an Intranet, it is imperative consistently structured navigation and content taxonomy be deliberately designed, implemented and maintained.
As noted in CSF #1, if users are unable to quickly locate their content, they have a tendency to revert to old habits; which can include duplicating the content by storing it in a local repository.
Aggregate Views and Dashboards
There are many common business contextual needs that can be easily satisfied through aggregate views and dashboards. Some examples of this would include Policies & Procedures, FAQ’s, Glossary of Terms, New Employee Resources, My Project Tasks, My Collaboration Sites, etc.
In the example figure above, each department is responsible for storing and managing their own content, Policies & Procedures, FAQ’s, Glossary of Terms and so on. This type of content, when modeled appropriately, can easily be aggregated to views and dashboards thus satisfying various business contextual needs.
As an Intranet solution matures, user adoption increases and the amount of content grows, there will inevitably become the need to produce accurate, relevant and meaningful search results. Unfortunately, we cannot rely simply on the full text search within documents or the default (out-of-box) search configuration of SharePoint to produce these types of results. However, SharePoint does provide us with the technology we can configure to accomplish these goals. The technology and techniques we can use to obtain these goals include:
- Structured approach to using Search Scopes.
- Search scopes to limit content based on destination.
- Hierarchical search scope implementation to automatically limit content based on current location.
- Use of metadata to support specific contextual needs.
- Configure common keywords and best bets.