Friday, December 3, 2010

Designing Intranet search…Its not google

Search enables users to find what they are looking for…a myth

Believe it or not ,search in intranet domain is not centered around what users want to see but more importantly what business wants the users to see.This statement might seem radical but it is not so when you look behind the intent. Business generally knows what are the repositories available,what are the expected searches and what type of search result might help you do your Job better.Its like a Big brother watching you and guiding you to search. You may be typing in Holiday Calender but what you really need is the corporate calendar because there us nothing called a separate calender.Many Large firms spend considerable energy in driving employees to the places they deem are important rather than firing a true search

Since intranet is a managed content with clearly defined content creators and owners the search design is different from normal internet search. Here the focus is not on covering all the data but how to block certain data,its more focussed on promoting a few pages on top rather than finding the best fit for your search.

A wrong result is more worry some rather than a missing right result.Consider an example here: HR releases a not so popular  policy and this leads to a lot of backlash from employees on Intranet forums,internal blogs ,reviews etc..

Now irrespective of  how popular a certain disgruntled employees blog is on the intranet a company will never want to get that as top search result for someone searching about it.

It will be like training your own contract killer….:)

So what do companies do?..

Stop indexing the blogs… a highly unpopular decision leading to further back lash….

Block that page:…..Going toooo far

quietly push the HR pages up…..various search providers give this functionality especially fast esp which basically lets you give HR sites a Static boost that will surpass any amount of traffic going to the particular site…

So Now you know…while designing search solutions for intranet..Do not always look at google…remember these intents

1.Its about what we want to show rather than what user wants to see

2.Its about controlling rather than freely searching

3.Tweaking queries or simply changing them is OK

4.Its focus is to not show certain sites or show certain sites rather than cover everything..

Now you know……
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