Faceted Navigation is nothing new and is sometimes called parametric search by vendors. Our products provide faceted navigation in all of our platforms. So exactly how does it improve search results? We use the faceted interface based on the enterprise taxonomies, although you can use if you have any type of overall rule based organization and good metadata (another problem that negates overall the benefit of superior search results) that could be used also.
Anyway, faceted navigation is a logical extension of the taxonomy, or organizational hierarchy. Instead of being presented with potentially hundreds of query results, the end user controls the search experience and can quickly drill down to more targeted and accurate results. The end user experience is transformed and searching becomes intuitive, fast, and delivers far more accurate results.
Typically the end user will enter only a fraction of the range of terms or concepts they are searching for, but can absorb a screen full of variants in an instant to make a rapid decision about what areas to explore. With faceted navigation the end user controls the experience, ultimately saving the organization time and money, in accurate search results and improved productivity.
Why is faceted navigation important? Organizations may have a wide variety of constituents that need access to content to meet different needs. Internal vocabularies are often specific to that organization and even departments (think marketing versus engineering) and may not be easily translated by personnel outside of a particular community rendering the content unusable. Further complicating matters is that within an organization there may be varying solutions for identifying and storing electronic documents. The inconsistency of these systems hampers the ability of users to find relevant information, specifically when searching across multiple silos of content within the organization. Although knowledge workers need unified and universal access to information, at a more granular level they need to be able to find exactly and only the content they need. Using this approach, from an end user perspective, knowledge workers can locate pertinent information from his or her own individual viewpoint without knowing the exact search terms to use.
The knowledge worker controls the search experience and the search results present facets of documents grouped together based on the concepts identified. This extends the search process as documents will be grouped by concept and assists the knowledge worker in offering content that may not have been found. This unified view and access to relevant information from disperse silos within the organization or external sources, can reduce the volume, cost, and time traditionally required to retrieve and find relevant content.
Our software provides semantic search. Either by feeding the search engine index multi-term metadata or through our stand-alone enterprise search product. In either case, the bottom line is for users to find the accurate information they need quickly. For those organizations that have traveled this road, they know it’s a business problem that will either cost them money or save them money.