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Improving findability - Part 1 (BP)
This best practice provides recommendations to help users more easily find content in your digital workplace solution.
When working to improve knowledge management, it’s good to periodically take a step back and look at big picture to see if your digital workplace architecture still reflects how your organization categorizes its knowledge. Remember that every time you create or move a channel, space, or page you are implicitly reorganizing that knowledge, whether intentional or not. When a user navigates to find information, spaces and pages are often essentially the “top level folders” that they have to pass through to get to it. Do those spaces and pages still logically align with the folder structures under them?
It’s also important to keep in mind that beyond your files and folders, all channels contain potentially useful knowledge. The hierarchy of space -> page -> channel -> content provides one way to organize knowledge, but not everyone thinks alike. What if your information needs to be organized in more than one dimension? What if some of it is in files, some in wikis, some in blog posts, but it all needs to be tied together? What if it’s scattered across multiple spaces?
There are a couple of options:
- If you think of spaces, pages, and channels as a vertical hierarchy originating with the home page at the top, labels are a great way to cut horizontally across that hierarchy and connect content that has a relationship which is not part of the hierarchy. For example, suppose you have three product development teams, each with their own Team Room. They are all working on different projects but doing similar kinds of work, such as quality testing. Management wants to improve the testing process and so would like to review all testing results, but they are scattered across multiple spaces. By labeling them with something like test results, you could then filter a search based on that label and find all test results at once, even if one group posts them in a blog and another posts them as uploaded files.
- There are some widgets (e.g., Blog Articles, Wiki Article, Site Map, Search Box, etc.) that can be used as windows into another part of the digital workplace. So for example if you know that your Finance team is interested in how Sales is doing, include widgets on their team home page that either surface that information directly from a Sales channel or link over to it so that the two teams are connected without having to navigate up and down the formal hierarchy.
It’s not enough to be smart about naming and organizing your information, you also have to keep your digital workplace clean. This means periodically auditing and reviewing content to delete outdated information. Use Igloo’s archiving features wherever possible to automate this as much as possible. Archiving will allow you to keep the content without having it show up in search results.
Finally, don’t forget about the ultimate information channel: People ! Sometimes it’s not about finding the right content but about finding the right person to ask a question. So:
- Ensure that employee profiles contain not just contact information but also details about expertise, interests, background, etc. so that these can be searched on.
- Use the Members widget to highlight experts, team members, or employees designated as available for answering questions.
- Set up a discussion channel for Q&A, set up notifications for the appropriate team members, and then highlight it on the team’s home page to make it easy for visitors to ask a question.
Applying any or all of the tips above will help increase the chances that your users will always find the information they are looking for.
- Knowledge Base: Profiles
- Knowledge Base: Edit Profile
- Knowledge Base: Profile Page Fields
- Video: The Power of the Personal Profile
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