Best Practices of Information Architecture and Search


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Information Architecture (IA) for a large organization is often as complex as a twisting labyrinth. In this session, we will explain, and demonstrate, why a good IA design is important for search and also provide best practices on how to plan, maintain and govern. We will also demonstrate how search provides the building blocks (entity extraction, metadata processing, etc..) for improving knowledge management and discovery scenarios for people and content.

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  • Create “Folder View” for contributors
    Create “Non-Folder Views” for visitors (grouping, ordering, etc.)
  • Resource: Configure properties of the Search Box Web Part in SharePoint Server 2013 (
  • Taxonomy-Based Navigation
    Search-Driven Catalogs by Navigation
  • Conclusion
  • Best Practices of Information Architecture and Search

    1. 1. Best Practices for Information Architecture and Enterprise Search Agnes Molnar Founder, Managing Consultant, Search Explained
    2. 2. Introduction – Agnes Molnar 7 years SharePoint Server MVP Enterprise Search, Information Architecture Founder & Managing Consultant Worldwide Consultancy, Guidance, Trainings, Workshops Web: Yammer: Twitter: @molnaragnes E-mail:
    3. 3. Agenda Information Architecture: Organize and Classify the Content Enterprise Search: Find the Proper and Relevant Content
    4. 4. Information Architecture The art and science of organizing and labeling the CONTENT (documents, web sites, blog posts, database entries, etc.) to support findability and usability
    5. 5. Enterprise Search Connects people to the information they need to get their jobs done
    6. 6. Enterprise Search Search Technology that your organization owns and controls
    8. 8. Content Management in SharePoint
    9. 9. Content Management in SharePoint
    10. 10. Organize and Classify Content in SharePoint Document Libraries & Folders Content Types Document Sets Managed Metadata Document ID Workflows Content Organizer Rules …
    11. 11. Folders or Not Folders? Linear Structure • Requires drilling down to sub-folders • Difficulty in finding content • Inefficient during upload Every File HAS to belong to ONE folder Moving document = URL change Deep folder structure = long URL • Max URL length: 256 characters 11
    12. 12. Folders or Not Folders? Lack of flexibility in views No Synonyms Folder names cannot contain special characters Folder structure can be modified by any team member (Contributor) 12
    13. 13. Folders or Not Folders? Lack of Standards 13
    14. 14. Folders or Not Folders? - Alternatives Tagging Document ID Content Type Document Set 14
    15. 15. Why Keep Using Folders? Risk of low user adoption Metadata is a huge mind shift Permission model (folder-level) Bulk upload – No metadata enforcing/support 15
    16. 16. How to use Folders? Combine Folders + Metadata + Content Types + Document Sets + … Create “Without Folders” View • Hides folder structure • Eliminates hierarchy 16
    17. 17. Location: Folders vs. Document Sets Document Sets: Components, similar to folders, that enable users to collaborate on related documents without having to create a new document library or site.
    18. 18. Document Sets in SP2010 Document Library Document_1 Document_2 Folder_1 Document_F1_1 Document_F1_2 Folder_F1_1 Folder_F1_1_1 Document_F1_1_1_1 DocumentSet_F1_1 Document_DS_F1_1_1 Folder_2 Folder_3 DocumentSet_1 Document_DS1_1 Document_DS1_2
    19. 19. Document Sets in SP2013 Document Library Document_1 Document_2 Folder_1 Document_F1_1 Document_F1_2 Folder_F1_1 Folder_F1_1_1 Document_F1_1_1_1 DocumentSet_F1_1 Document_DS_F1_1_1 Folder_2 Folder_3 DocumentSet_1 Document_DS1_1 Document_DS1_2 Folder_F1_1 Folder_F1_1_1 Document_F1_1_1_1
    20. 20. Content Types Document Document_Root Contract Technical Document Requirements System Requirements Functional Requirements Case Study User Manual Marketing Presentation For Business Decision Makers For Developers For Admins
    21. 21. Content Types Storing the Templates in local folders
    22. 22. Content Types Organize the Templates into Template Library
    23. 23. Content Organizer Rules Property based rules Users don’t need to know where to save anymore Well organized content Searchability and Findability
    24. 24. Content Organizer Rules •Use if you have clear organizing requirements •Deploy a good Search Architecture  Search Based Navigation •Don’t forget to turn on the Content Organizer Feature – on the Target Site too! •Don’t forget to implement Content Types in the Target Libraries •Teach the users!
    26. 26. Organize and Refine Results in SharePoint Search Refinement Panel  Managed Properties Result Sources / Query Rules  Properties (Metadata)  Content Source  Content Type  … Core Results Web Part  Managed Properties  Customization Hover Panel  Managed Properties  Customization
    27. 27. Search Metadata – Crawled/Managed Properties Crawled property: metadata extracted from the documents/items during the crawl. Managed property: created from crawled properties, controlled by the Search Admins, helping users perform more efficient and successful queries:  Refiners  Properties displayed in Search Results  Sorting Properties (FAST)
    28. 28. Identifying and Planning Managed Properties Crawled Property Managed Property Author CreatedBy From Author Usage Refiner Display on Result Set Display on Hover Panel Sorting by
    29. 29. Search Metadata Refinement Result Type & Display Template On Hover Panel Query & Query Rules
    30. 30. Search Metadata
    31. 31. Managed Navigation + Search
    32. 32. Managed Navigation
    33. 33. Conclusions
    34. 34. Thank you for your attention! This presentation will be available on the Toronto SharePoint Summit web site a few days after the event.
    35. 35. Please rate this session! Fill out the survey for a chance to win a Surface