Faceted Navigation – old hat to us

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Faceted Navigation – old hat to us

Making relevant information available to end users, and potentially partners and customers needs to be efficient, consistent, manageable, and scalable. Taxonomy based navigation dramatically improves the search experience and has been proven to be 38%-45% more efficient.

We have been providing faceted navigation in the SharePoint environment for quite a while (2007, 2010, and now 2013). Faceted navigation is a logical extension of the taxonomy. 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 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.

SharePoint 2013 introduces Refiners and faceted navigation based on managed properties from the search index. According to Microsoft, “managed properties represent the specifications of the items in the catalog-enabled library or list — for example, Author, Date, Color, or Product Category. In a catalog scenario (once again Microsoft’s favorite scenario), you can add a Refinement Panel Web Part to a category page so that users can narrow the content as they browse through different pages. For example, in an Internet business scenario in which a catalog of mobile telephones is displayed, the managed property Color is set as a refiner. When a user views all mobile telephones in the catalog, all available colors are displayed in the Refinement Panel Web Part. When a user clicks a specific color, such as Gray, only mobile telephones with the color Gray are displayed. Similarly, in the scenario in which company events are displayed, the managed property Date is set as a refiner. In the Refinement Panel Web Part, users can see for which dates events are scheduled. When they click a particular date, they refine the results so that only events scheduled to occur on that date appear.  By using faceted navigation, you can configure different refiners for different terms in a term set. For example, in an Internet business scenario in which a product catalog is displayed, you can set the managed property Screen size as refiner for the term Computer, and the managed property Megapixels as refiner for the term Cameras. The faceted navigation guides users to content that is relevant for each specific category, and makes it easier and faster to browse through catalog content.”

Concept Searching technologies are based on automatic classification of concepts as opposed to single words. Coupled with faceted navigation based on the term store/taxonomy end users can browse subsets of results that are particularly suited to their business need.

Faceted navigation, integration with a taxonomy, and the ability to search on concepts becomes a significant advantage to an organization where the taxonomy, or taxonomies, are being used by a wide range of users who need to find information but have far different business information requirements based on their role.

Introduced in SharePoint 2007, conceptClassifier for SharePoint provides several search enhancements.  Faceted navigation is only one of them.