Search Usability Part II - Why Search and Tasty are Similar

By John Brunswick posted 01-19-2011 22:59


Much like "tasty", search is a term that broadly describes the act or capability to locate information. Much like tasty, it can be fulfilled through a variety of means. Some people enjoy steak, others Thai food or Italian.

Tens of times per day we sit in front of a web browser concentrating on what to enter into a text box in an effort to locate content that providing solutions to problems or curiosities. Other times we arrive at a web site that displays related information alongside central content or proposes goods and services with similar qualities or qualities that are liked by people who have looked at similar content.

So - What exactly is "search"?

Challenging the Common Definition and Our Assumptions
In our daily efforts to produce services and goods for others, we seldom take time out to examine the nuances in our actions. In the article Search Usability - Why Lance Armstrong doesn't ride a Mountain Bike, we examined what drives people to search. This drive, like Lance, was active.

A younger sibling to "active search" is passive search. Passive Search, generally termed Personalization, leverages behavioral information about a user and the way in which users who are somehow related to that user, interact with content. Personalization services provide an underpinning for passive search, presenting users with information most likely to be of interest for a given context.

Why does any of this matter?

Understanding the Importance of Passive Search in Knowledge Management
Enterprise 2.0 has been largely driven from concepts originating from the commercial and public web. As users have been exposed to high quality services outside the corporate firewall, they have demanded more within their own walls.

Passive search is an important part of an enterprise solution for knowledge management. Perhaps unexpectedly, few technical innovations have had this much impact on knowledge discovery and tacit knowledge extraction.

When businesses look to create knowledge management solutions - tagging, rating, "liking", commenting and searching are all tightly dependent in helping to provide a foundation to enable business users to gain additional efficiencies within their processes.

"Search" is no longer just a text box in the middle of a white screen, with a blinking cursor. Search is a strategy which now needs to incorporate a wide breadth of technical capability to more effectively meet its core goal - information location. In order to create an effectively strategy we need to be aware of what spices are at our disposal to make our search as tasty as possible.

Bon Appetit!

#Search #usability