Toward a search dominant wayfinding paradigm(worth it?)

24 Sep 2009 - 11:25am
322 reads

I agree that search on many corporate and government sites is terrible (and
lags far behind e-commerce). It doesn't have to stay that way, but in most
cases it will require a significant investment in technology and design to
make search better. That's why framing it as a strategic shift towards a
search-centered experience is worthwhile. That said, of course other modes
of interaction such as asking and browsing will remain important. They all
need to work together. But search can no longer be treated as an
afterthought or add-on.

Also, it's worth noting that there's good work being done on exploratory

...which deals explicitly with cases in which users don't know what to
search for.

Peter Morville
President, Semantic Studios

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at
[mailto:discuss-bounces at] On Behalf Of
Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2009 11:46 AM
To: David Lambert
Cc: discuss at
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Toward a search dominant wayfinding
paradigm(worth it?)

Peter is right on here... in theory. But in application it typically does
not work.
The users with the greatest needs, within government sites in particular, do
not have domain expertise. So they often do not know what to search for.
Google has by far, the most productive and useful search algorithms on the
planet. They are currently setting the expectations way high (which is a
rear and really good thing). But if you spend any time on corporate or
government sites you will find they pale in comparison. The indexing is
bad... there is little allocation for cross referencing terminology and

Navigation, classifications and the browsing process can be an incredibly
powerful tool in bringing context to a users quest, especially when they do
not really know what to look for.

Recent searches, most popular searches and help within the search are
helping to bridge the gap between these to ways of finding stuff... but they
are rare applications in intrasite search.


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