In my upcoming publication Knowledge Management in Practice I detail search in a chapter called "Dude Where's my Car: Utilizing Search in KM". At the KM World Taxonomy Boot Camp I spoke about Utilizing Ontologies for Taxonomy & Content Organization and during this discussion there were questions concerning faceted search. Before the year ends (literally) I wanted to provide some details concerning faceted search:
search offers remarkable potential for putting the search experience in the
hands of the user. It provides a flexible framework by which users can satisfy
a wide variety of information needs, ranging from simple look up and fact
retrieval to complex exploratory search and discovery scenarios.
With faceting, search results are grouped under useful headings,
using tags you apply ahead of time to the documents in your index. For example,
the results of a shopping query for books might be grouped according to the
type of book and the price.
Each time the user clicks a facet
value, the set of results is reduced to only the items that have that value.
Additional clicks continue to narrow down the search—the previous facet values
are remembered and applied again.
search results provide an easy-to-scan, browse and display that helps users
quickly narrow down each search. The faceting tags that you store with your documents
provide a way to add your own taxonomy to directly control the presentation of
search results. In the end, it's about helping the user find the right
information. Faceted search gives a user the power to create an individualized
navigation path, drilling down through successive refinements to reach the
right document. This more effectively mirrors the intuitive thought patterns of
most users. Faceted search has become an expected feature, particularly for
However, before you get too deep into the intricacies of faceted search, it is extremely important that you develop use cases or user stories around your search scenarios mentioned earlier. A great way to get started is to identify the main concepts you would like to search (People, reports, policies, etc.); next create logical categories (start by building or leveraging a taxonomy) for each group (Engineers, Executives, Administrators, etc.) a card sort exercise will be helpful here, and finally create (or use a current) information/content model showing relationships and considering navigation paths.
This will put you on a path to realizing the benefits of faceted search!
Labels: Card Sort, Faceted Search, Information Model, Taxonomy, taxonomy boot camp