Thursday, 26th March 2015
As Steve Bynghall explains, discovery in the enterprise is challenging. While technology is important, a holistic approach is important. This includes training and providing learning resources for users. Targeting users who have specialist information needs can have value, as can encouraging content owners to make their content more discoverable through good practices.
Discovery and "findability" in the enterprise is a challenge and rarely meets the expectations of users. When an employee is trying to find an item that they know exists they generally want things to work like Google, immediately retrieving what they need by tapping a term into a search box. Unfortunately their user experience of discovery is rarely that simple.
All too often the solution to improving discovery is regarded as being solely about technology. Implement a new search engine or content management system, turn it on and all the issues will be resolved.
While technology is very important, really improving discovery across the enterprise is far more complex than that. It needs to be tackled far more as a "service" with an ongoing commitment to improvement rather than just a single project focused on a technology implementation.
Committing to Discovery
Several approaches can help in running discovery more like a service:
There is also the potential to use training and provide learning resources to increase discovery. This isn't necessarily an intuitive approach because there is an assumption that discovery is all about the Google-like search box, an experience which should be intuitive. Also providing "discovery" training for individual users will be, more-or-less, operationally impossible.
However, where needs are more specialised or the interfaces more complicated, then providing highly tailored training or self-service resources to improve discovery may have some value.
Here are a few examples:
Another key area where training can make a difference is around content management processes. Those responsible for content need to know how to make their content more discoverable, right from writing for the web through to structuring the content and adding the right tags.
There's also a wider point in encouraging content owners to delete unnecessary content and apply discipline to what they write, so as to decrease noise.
This can be difficult where there are many content owners, and even harder in the case of user-generated content on social networks. Encouraging tagging on microblogging posts or discussion threads will take time to establish as common behaviour, and usually communicating this message needs to be cascaded through site owners, community managers and other champions.
Find Out More
The Subscription Article "Putting Users at the Centre of Discovery" goes into more detail about areas such as the expectations of discovery; managing and improving discoverability on an ongoing basis; the role of technology for incremental improvements or big new projects, as well as other options for search such as structured collections of knowledge and the use of content governance processes.
This Blog Item is part of the FreePint Topic Series "Making Information Visible".
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