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Any Successful Adoption Program for SharePoint 2013 Must Include a User Friendly Query Feature for Site Search

Managed properties for the search service of SharePoint Server 2013 do not conform to fuzzy logic. This is potentially a very serious limitation for SharePoint stakeholders determined to prod end users to adopt the computing platform. Ostensibly, the advanced search box feature of the query component of the SharePoint 2013 search service can help end users be more successful with their search queries. After all, end users cannot be expected to remember the exact name of managed properties. So serving them with a highly detailed, complex advanced search interface should go far to provide them with better support for their need to query the search service.

But we are more skeptical of the interest of end users to avail of a complex query tool. We think time would be better spent simplifying the search process. For example, administrators can do a better job of configuring managed properties. Once managed properties are successfully configured for the unique needs of specific communities of SharePoint 2013 users, then the crucial point should not be whether end users can successfully enter the exact names of managed properties.

In fact, the managed properties should be designed with end users in mind. If no other options are available to soften the rigidity of the correct parameters of a query component, then the exact names of important, popular managed properties must be memorable and inescapable. SharePoint 2013 stakeholders simply cannot afford to risk low levels of user adoption of the search service.

Looking at the advanced search form from a 30K foot viewpoint, we think it provides a weak fallback position from a failed effort at encouraging end users to adopt SharePoint 2013. To reiterate, querying the indices driving search engines is one of the most popular user activities in the history of the internet and world wide web. If nothing else, SharePoint stakeholders must successfully design a query capability into the SharePoint Server 2013 search service capable of magnetizing user attention and interest. Further, adoption methods should be implemented to ensure end users really make the changes required to switch off of old methods of getting their computing work done, to achieving the same with SharePoint.

Ira Michael Blonder

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