A Call for More Friendly Enterprise Search Results

August 10, 2015

An idea from ClearBox Consulting would bring enterprise search results in line with today’s online searches. The company’s blog asserts, “Enterprise Search? We Need Some Answers on a Card.” Writer  Sam Marshall likes the way Google now succinctly presents key information about a user’s query in a “card” at the top of the results page, ahead of the old-school list of relevant links. For example, he writes:

“Imagine you want to know the time of the next train between two cities. When you type this into Google, the first hit isn’t a link to a site but a card like the one below. It not only gives the times but also useful additional information: a map, trip duration, and tabs for walking, driving, and cycling. Enterprise search isn’t like this. The same query on an intranet gives the equivalent of a link to a PDF containing the timetable for the whole region. It’s like saying ‘here’s the book, look it up yourself’. This is not only a poor user experience for the employee, but a direct cost to the employer in wasted time. I’d like to see enterprise search move away from results pages of links to providing pages of answers too, and cards are a powerful way of doing this.”

Marshall emphasizes some advantage of the card approach: the most important information is right there, separated from related but irrelevant data; cards work better on mobile devices; and cards are user-friendly. Besides, he notes, since this format is now popular with sites from Facebook to Twitter, users are becoming familiar with them.

The card concept could be enhanced, Marshall continues, by personalizing results to the individual—tapping into employee profiles or even GPS data. For more information, see the article; it utilizes a hypothetical  query about paternity leave to well-illustrate its point. Though enterprise search is not exactly known for living on the cutting edge of technology, developers would be foolish not to incorporate this (or a similar) efficient format.

Cynthia Murrell, August 10, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


One Response to “A Call for More Friendly Enterprise Search Results”

  1. Sam Marshall on August 10th, 2015 4:20 pm

    Many thanks for the mention and your encouraging comments.

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