Deploying a search experience to help users find what they are looking is a simple concept but it has many dependencies that require a deep understanding of your audiences, their skill level, and the intent they sought self-service to address.
If your consumer does not know how to accurately define their problem, they may have issues articulating what they are looking for in search terms that yield results. Navigational experiences can be a better experience for users without the understanding or skills to know what to look for when they need help.
The way an organization names or labels its products and services has an impact on the way the information can be found when an audience is searching for answers to their questions. The audience's familiarity with the subject, the available content, and the precise terminology also impact the results that can be returned in search results.
The audience who benefits from a findability strategy is one who understands the naming convention that your organization uses. This audience is typically an internal user who is also an expert on the topic or subject who knows what something is called or how it has been defined.
Novice users, most likely external or your customers, likely do not have the working knowledge or experience with the subject matter and will not articulate the problem accurately. Because site search results are heavily dependent on the verbiage used to describe the issues and results, content should use words that match consumer word choices as much as possible.
Search in MindTouch
MindTouch's search query logic provides users with top results based on several factors, including the location of key words within a page as well as metadata associated with a page. There are ways to further refine searches based on advanced search operators and parameters.
To provide the desired results from a findability experience using site search, a deployment must address and align some important considerations:
- Your audience
- Your content
Who is the primary audience your site experience is trying to serve: external customers or the internal users?
If your primary audience is your customer, what level of understanding do they typically have when they come to your self-service experience? Do they know what to look for and understand your naming conventions, terminology, or codes? MindTouch refers to this audience as the "Novice" because they are new or inexperienced relative to your internal users or experts. A secondary audience is a representative of your organization who typically has a much deeper understanding of your product or service. MindTouch calls this audience the "Expert" because they are more familiar with your subject matter.
Novices and Experts do not behave the same when each are in need of help. Do you have a thorough understanding of how your Novices and Experts search and find content? Does your published content align how they are searching?
Talk to MindTouch Professional Services to request a workshop to identify and capture relevant information that helps define your audience.
Each audience uses content differently depending on the issue or stage of when they need help. A critical element in providing the desired search results is to understand the cornerstone content that addresses the audience and their intent. Compare your content with the types of current search behavior to help define the cornerstone content that is needed. Perform a gap analysis to inform authoring teams on the gaps in current content that are negatively impacting search experience.
Talk to MindTouch Professional Services to request a workshop that identifies and captures relevant information to define your cornerstone content.
Audit search experience in MindTouch
For MindTouch clients that have deployed a search experience, understand what is working and where improvements in the experience can be made to deliver optimal search results. Ensure the search experience is helping users and customers find the content that answers their questions.
Content quality assessment
Evaluate the ability of your current content to answer common questions
- Optimize your content for search
- Look for content gaps
- Assign subject matter experts to create or modify content to improve the quality and relevancy of the articles that address the gaps
- Use the MindTouch Content Aging report to see most viewed articles
- Evaluate current search performance with the MindTouch Search Insights report
- Assess separately for external and internal users
- Create a content quality checklist based on criteria relevant to your audience