Continuous improvement is the key to improving findability
Findability can be defined as the ability to easily locate and retrieve desired content and people by users of a website or intranet. It encompasses all manners in which users can retrieve content, such as browsing the navigation structure or using a search tool or site index. In many organisations, achieving good practice in findability is an ongoing challenge, not least because of the rapidly widening scope of the intranet to encompass the Digital Workplace.
IBF has just released new research to members on good practice in intranet findability. The findings show that the emphasis needs to be not just on having the appropriate findability tools (effective search, user focused information architecture, indexes, breadcrumb trails and quick links) but also on ensuring that they are part of a holistic and ongoing findability strategy.
Getting the right tools in place is a key step. However, the secret of a successful strategy is viewing these as critical, ongoing services rather than part of a one-off redesign project. Only through dedicated resource, can each element of the user experience be regularly tested and enhanced.
A key stumbling block for many organizations is to tackle issues simply on a project basis rather than as part of a wider findability strategy that sets out how resources will be allocated, results measured and improvements made. The findability strategy doesn’t need to be a separate document, it can be incorporated into the existing intranet or content strategy. What is essential, is not how it’s defined, written and communicated but that it is considered as a ‘business as usual’ rather than project based activity.
The research delves into common pitfalls and challenges faced by intranet teams, as well as looking at the good practice principles for improving findability, with examples from DWG members such as IKEA, Vodafone, BG Group and Thomson Reuters. DWG members can download the research from the member extranet.
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