Sunday, February 18, 2007

Search doesn't compete with navigation

Search does not take the place of navigation ...

"Within the industry, there is often perceived competition between search and navigation. Do we really need conventional site structures and navigation, or can we replace all that with powerful search?

It has also been argued that search will be the interface. While this statement can be hard to pin down, it talks about making search into the primary interface, via search-based dynamic navigation and the like.

The reality of course is that both search and navigation are needed. I would go one step further to say that you can't have effective search without a good underlying information architecture.

Let's make this really clear with a picture. Imagine our intranet homepage looked like Google:

This is great for experienced, frequent staff. Looking for a leave form? Type in "leave". Looking for the sales figures reporting application? Type in "sales figures reporting".

This is not so easy for new-starters at the organisation:

• What terms do I enter into the search engine?
• What's on the intranet?
• Are there other systems I should be looking on?
• How does the organisation work?
• What are the various functions and business units?
• What terminology is used within the organisation?"    (Continued via Column Two)    [Usability Resources]

Search Box - Usability, User Interface Design

Search Box

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