A recent Nielsen Norman Alertbox post talked about how most "users are incredibly bad at finding and researching things on the web." The article mentions that most users have learned to limit their use of search on intranets because intranet search is so poorly implemented. I have also found this to be true. SharePoint 2013's search engine allows search designers to truly optimize the search experience for users, provided that sufficient time is allocated to designing and implementing search. In addition, however, I don't think that we should ignore the opportunity to help users develop "search literacy" skills, as I have talked about before on this blog.
In this post, I'm providing a link to a Word document that can be downloaded (and customized and put right into your training and governance plans) that includes 10 search hints for SharePoint 2013 "searchers" I'm calling the document Practice Safe Search: 10 Essential SharePoint 2013 Search Tips. You are free to re-use it and call it whatever you like! All but three of the hints will work in SharePoint 2010 and many are also applicable in your favorite web search engine. I'm hoping that if you download and reuse the document, you will share any additional hints you identify as a response to this post so that I can update the document to keep it alive and make it even more helpful.
Among other things, I'm responsible for the appendix in Essential SharePoint 2013: Practical Guidance for Measurable Business Results and what we're going to do in that chapter is share these kind of very specific tips and best practices that you can re-use in your own governance and training material. Our goal is to make the appendix content available online (more on that when the approach is finalized) so that it can be more easily re-purposed. Most of the writing on the book is finished and we're in the tech review and editing phase right now, planning for a late summer publication date. Watch this space for updates as we head to the finish line!
Susan Hanley is an independent consultant and president of her own firm, Susan Hanley LLC, where she specializes in helping organizations build effective portal and collaboration solutions using SharePoint as the primary platform.
She is co-author of Essential SharePoint 2010: Overview, Governance, and Planning. Read a free chapter of the book.