Over the past few years we’ve seen a drastic improvement in search interfaces.  The development of ugly search boxes and incomprehensible search result screens should now (hopefully) be a thing of the past.  New search UI’s are designed and developed daily, that are crisp, clean, well thought out, and really help guide users to the information they’re looking for.  Search based concepts and technologies are finally starting to be properly recognized as being as important as the content they’re put in place to help discover.  A clean, well thought out search user interface not only makes a large difference in helping users navigate site information, but also goes a long ways towards bringing users back for more. (more…)

Series Introduction

Over the past several years, we’ve helped clients design, implement and maintain unique search implementations. A natural side effect of our search implementation work has been exposure to hundreds, if not thousands, of different approaches to implementing various forms of search functionality. The organizations we’ve worked with usually have a pretty good understanding of how they want their search system to look and work. On the other hand, they have often not been exposed to possible search user interface search design techniques that could help them greatly improve their search. To help enterprise search customers understand different search user interface approaches, we’ve decided to start a series of articles showcasing well thought out search user interface component implementations. In each one of these articles we’ll showcase 5 different public search implementations, focusing on one search UI component. We’ll outline what we like about the UI approach, and how it helps improve the search experience. Search UI implementations will be highlighted from organizations varying in size and intended audience, and will in no way be exhaustive. These examples represent just a few of the many great implementations of a specific search UI component out there. (Note: This series is not intended to be a a showcase for Norconex accomplishments – we are intentionally not using search examples taken from sites or applications we’ve worked on. Please refer to our portfolio for implementations performed by Norconex.) (more…)

Well, another GTEC has finished. We definitely had a great time attending this years government technology conference, and thoroughly enjoyed camping out in a booth there for a few days. We met a lot of really interesting people, from just about every possible business spectrum. All Canadian government departments seemed to be in attendance, and the people we met definitely made these departments shine. (more…)

Top 10 Enterprise Search Must Reads

Looking to hone up your enterprise search skills, but having a hard time figuring out where to turn? Well, maybe we can help. With summer just around the corner, we know many of you will be packing up and heading to the beach for some well deserved rest and relaxation. If you’re like us, this also means you’ll be stocking up with a few good books to kick back and relax with (just keep in mind that the glare on an iPad screen is a reall killer). Why not take advantage of this time to delve into some of the wonderful enterprise search books out there? While there aren’t a lot of general enterprise search books in print, the one’s that do exist are generally quite good. We’ve been through just about all of them, so we thought we’d put together a list of our favourites, for colleagues and clients alike. A few of these books aren’t specificaly enterprise search related, but we feel are still quite relevant to the field. Think we’re missing a few? Let us know of others you think should be in the top 10. A bit of forewarning – we’ll be tough to sway!

  1. Search Patterns, by Peter Morville and Jeffrey Callender

  2. Making Search Work, by Martin White

  3. Beyond Search: What to Do When Your Enterprise Search System Doesn’t Work, by Stephen E. Arnold

  4. Designing Search: UX Strategies for eCommerce Success, by Greg Nudelman

  5. Search User Interfaces, by Marti A. Hearst

  6. Ambient Findability, by Peter Morville

  7. Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites, by Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld

  8. Enterprise Search in Action, by Marc Teutelink (early access edition)

  9. Endeca User Interface Design Pattern Library, by Endeca (okay, not really a book but Endeca has done an excellent job with this – Instapaper it, and pretend it’s a book)

  10. Search Analytics for Your Site, by Louis Rosenfeld (well okay, to be fair we haven’t read this one yet as it hasn’t been released. It will be soon however, and since we’re quite enamored with search analytics we definitely can’t wait!)

Interested in finding out how you can make sure your search implementation is being used effectively? Come see our upcoming Enterprise Search Summit 2011 presentation. David Gaulin, our VP of Professional Services, will be presenting his talk titled “How to Make Your Silent Search Users Talk: Actions Speak Louder Than Words”. David will demonstrate how captured search statistics can be used to improve any search implementation, and ultimately lead your search users towards a better overall search experience.

How to Make Your Silent Search Users Talk: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Breakout A
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Actions speak louder than words. By listening to the actions per formed by users of your enterprise search systems, you can extract valuable insight into what is and is not working with you search offering. Direct user feedback is amazing, but is also usually hard to come by, biased or too simplistic to truly express a user’s complete state of mind. Tracking user actions, with the help of good and relevant statistics, is often more revealing than direct user feedback. In this presentation, Mr. Gaulin demonstrates how to leverage those user actions by identifying search failure and success patterns, and how to put in place the corresponding adjustments needed to improve your enterprise search system.