How Many Times Can I Pick the Wrong Search Result?

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How Many Times Can I Pick the Wrong Search Result?

With all the social networking hype, specifically by Microsoft, and the big push of Yammer, I have taken a step back and tried to sort this out. Collaboration, connecting users and relevant content, is certainly a step in the right direction. But there is a difference when we talk about these functions within the four walls of an enterprise. Not that I am a control freak, but at what point can this get out of control and become an unproductive distraction? If it doesn’t work as users expect from the beginning, they will abandon the use of it.

With search functions pushing what ‘others’ like and feel, and rankings based on access not necessarily relevance consider the following from ‘Using the Internet: Skill Related Problems in User Online Behavior’; van Deursen & van Dijk; 2009.   Although it specifically applies to Internet versus Enterprise search the results are still interesting.

• 56% of searchers constructed poor queries
• 33% had difficulty navigating/orienting search results
• 36% did not go beyond the first 3 search results (not pages, results on page 1)
• 91% did not go beyond the first page of search results
• 55% selected irrelevant results 1 or more times

Of course, searchers on the Internet are quite different than enterprise searchers. Is the search engine smarter than us or do we always believe that the search engine is bringing back relevant results?  With social networking relevancy is determined by how many links, mentions, etc. It doesn’t deal with the ‘value’ of that information to that specific end user.  How will new functions in Enterprise Search tools (i.e. social and collaboration) help or hinder the organization?

Your thoughts?

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