It’s a situation we can all relate to; you need to locate an important file, but you have no idea where to find it. You don’t particularly fancy wading through folders within folders to find the elusive document, and actually you’re not even sure exactly what the title is (you think it has the word “recruitment” in it).
So what do you do? You reach out to the most ubiquitous tool available; the search bar. You type in your key terms, and hey presto, “Key Departmental Recruitment Procedures for HR Managers 2016” appears at the top of the search results page. Simple, eh? Well, not always.
Time and time again, intranet searching is highlighted as one of the most essential features of intranet functionality, and yet it also gets a lot of complaints. Users are often frustrated that they can’t find the content they need or expect based on their search terms, or that document titles are badly written and therefore impossible to locate.
Good intranet searching that users can rely on is incredibly important, as it gives them the confidence that they are using intranet software which is stable and consistent. So how can intranet managers ensure that their users can find exactly what they need?
Searching can be improved by going back to the beginning when content is first created. Content that is of good quality is more easily searchable, and it’s worthwhile checking your content for optimisation opportunities. These can include a clear title and sub-headings, effective use of key terms, and utilising metadata functionality. Depending on your content strategy, individuals or whole teams may benefit from some simple training on editorial basics.
A clear results page
A badly designed results page may completely hinder a user’s search experience. If there is too much “clutter” surrounding the list of results, a user may not notice the search result they were looking for, leading to a lot of frustration. A clear results page, with a simple and unobstructed layout, means that users can focus on only what they need instead of being distracted by overly complicated designs. The list of results can also be fine-tuned, so that only a certain number of results are returned per page for ease of usability. Think Google and their no-nonsense 10-results-per-page approach.
A digital workplace prides itself on providing multiple integrated platforms to enhance productive and collaborative working. With many apps to search through, (our Intranet Platform being one of them), it would be easy for users to get lost in a list of results, especially if their search terms are generic. This is where filterable results are extremely useful, where users can tailor their searching to individual applications, meaning they can find what they’re looking for even quicker.
Filtered search results in Claromentis
Listen to user feedback
The search functionality of our digital workplace is a growing and organic entity. Over time, search results can be improved through collaborative efforts, where users can submit key term suggestions and intranet managers can decide which ones would benefit the search experience. For example, users can suggest that the key term “pricing” should appear if they search for “cost”. The intranet manager will be notified and can merge the relevant key terms into one searching “group”, meaning that users can find related files even if they didn’t search for the direct keyword. If you think back to Google, you can probably recall many times when it helped you find what you needed, even if you weren’t sure of the best terms to search for.
Make use of best bets
Best bets allow you to provide users with popular and commonly searched for files when they search for a particular keyword. To go back to our previous example, if a user searched for “pricing”, their search results can be tailored to display a direct link to the “Quote Template” document, which will be clearly highlighted away from the main list of search results. This enables users to access the files they need even quicker, avoiding the need to scroll through pages of results altogether.
Best Bets show commonly searched files