Friday, December 2, 2011

Information Architecture and Faceted Navigation in SharePoint 2010

SharePoint 2010 has new features included (such as Taxonomy, Document Sets) and search improvements (such as Refiners). This has brought in a whole lot of changes to the thought process related to information architecture.

In MOSS 2007, we dealt with a linear guided navigation. SPS2010 improvements and new features introduced faceted navigation. It is also referred as faceted search or (free form) guided navigation. The faceted search presents users with a list of relevant suggestions for refining the search results by document type, site, author, modified date, tags etc.

Information architecture is the key in designing the content management systems, knowledge management portals, e-Commerce sites and so on. Consider below points while deciding on Information architecture.

• Content Roll up: Using Content Query web part, relevant and related content can be made available on content pages, document set welcome pages etc. Content Query web part has few improvements related to managed metadata (taxonomy) columns. Read here what’s new in content query web part.
• Refiners: This is a key to faceted search. The refinement web part can be used to narrow the search results.
• Extensibility of Search Web part: SPS 2010 has search web parts which can be extended. In MOSS 2007, these web parts are sealed. Scenario based search functionality can be extended and used on various pages, document set pages.

I have listed here few of the points. There are many features in SPS 2010 which we can exploit for the better information architecture and good navigation providing better user experience.
Few links about faceted search and information architecture.
Building Information Architecture in SPS 2010
Faceted Navigation
How Microsoft is leveraging the features in Infopedia and Microsoft Academy Mobile
Case Study: Microsoft Infopedia