This is the third post in a series that is focusing on the top five design considerations you need to keep in mind for your projects. This post focuses on enterprise search projects specifically. Future posts will highlight business intelligence and custom development.
1. Relevance of Results
Are users able to find what they want quickly and with minimal effort? End users expect to be able to enter a search term and have the most relevant results appear first. If the desired search results are buried several pages deep, chances are most users will never find them. From an end-user perspective, the ability to return relevant results is the number one success factor for any search system.
2. Quality of Results
Do search results present enough information? Is it the right information, and are the results actionable? End users expect to be able to determine the quality of a search result without reading an entire web page or document. The search result itself should present enough information to the user to allow them to determine if it is useful. In addition, end users expect to be able to take action on search results without having to actually open them. Functions like emailing links and downloading documents should be available directly from the search result with minimal clicks.
Are results timely and returned quickly enough? Also, will this performance continue under load? End users expect new items to appear in search results quickly. This means that the indexing infrastructure must support content crawling without impacting site performance. In addition, the search infrastructure must be able to maintain this level of performance as the amount of content and end-user search load increases.
Do administrators have the understanding and tools they need to monitor and tune searches? Administrators should have the information necessary to monitor search activity and ensure that the most relevant results possible are being presented to end users. Achieving relevant, high-quality results requires monitoring and tuning. It is important that administrators have the knowledge and information necessary to maintain the quality of search results.
5. Fault Tolerance and Disaster Recovery
Can the system continue to function in the case of a hardware issue? How long does it take to recover from a total failure? The loss of a single server should not impact the system’s ability to return search results or index new content. In the case of a total failure, a plan should be in place to recover key functionality as quickly as possible and with minimal impact to end-users.
For more information, please visit our enterprise search technology services page.