Thursday, August 14, 2008

People Finder: Searching Without Logic?

Designing a people finder ...

"One of the most frequent tasks on many intranets is finding people within the company. Providing an effective way to search people is thus a key goal in designing intranets. This goal becomes even more important for an organization like Emirates, a leading international airline, which has over 35,000 employees with over 140 nationalities and where more people are likely to use this feature more frequently.

Our intranet provides many applications that have a people finder feature to help staff find each other. The goal in using this feature varies depending on the application and situation. For example, people may want to find a staff to book a meeting or add them to a project team. Whatever the goal, a simple text input field and a Find button are enough to provide the sought-after results. But again and again I have heard complaints about not being able to effectively find colleagues using this feature.
The effectiveness of the People Finder feature is challenged in the following ways:

1. People misspell names of staff they are searching. (e.g., ‘Vivek’ is spelled as ‘Vevek’; with over 140 different nationalities this is bound to happen.)
2. Names stored in the database are not in proper format. (e.g., ‘Vivek Deshmukh’ is stored as ‘Vivek D.’)
3. People are known by completely different names than the one stored in the database. (e.g., In some cultures women change their names after marriage.)"    (Continued via Boxes and Arrows, Vivek Deshmukh)    [Usability Resources]

A typical example of not finding a person in staff directory<br /> - Usability, User Interface Design

A typical example of not finding a person in staff directory

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