In addition to interviews, questionnaires, experiments and search log analysis, another method to assess causal factors for poor search experiences is to examine user feedback.
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Users who choose to press the feedback button on the Enterprise Search user interface are of course a self selecting group, although one advantage of the method is lack of researcher bias on data collection. The pie-chart above shows a breakdown of 891 negative comments collected via a feedback button over a two year period on enterprise search in a large multinational organization. Of potential interest to practitioners, is the fact that 22% of all poor search experiences are caused by a lack of search literacy. In particular, users unable to form appropriate queries from the information need in hand. It is often said that ‘you should not need to train users to search if the search is good enough’ but is that really the case?
The three categories of (1) Technical/IT (including reliability and ranking), (2) Information Management (including publishing appropriate content, naming and content maintenance) and (3) Search Literacy have been broken down into sub-categories and will be a subject of a future research publication. It is proposed that an Enterprise Search Centre of Excellence (CoE) service can use these categories to classify the feedback they receive, in order to better understand organizational realities.