Luke’s recent post challenging the design of search results pages reminded me that my original genre talk had another way to use document genres to improve the web experience.
When you use a search engine, say, Google, you get a list of ordered results. So, here’s what a search for “information architecture” returns.
Which is all well and good, if you want that particular tutorial, or Jesse’s particular set of resources. But, considering the 684,000 results, one gets the feeling that there could be more going on here.
Clusty, the hideously named search engine, uses algorithmic juju to identify related topics, and presents those with your results.
All right. I can’t argue that this is any better than Google’s results, because it’s unclear just how these topics are related. If you search on “information architecture” and then click “usability” or “web design,” just what are you going to get?
For my talk, I mocked up a Clusty interface that utilized genre as a filter:
The advantages, I hope, are clear. Utilizing genre allows the results to speak to whatever task the user brought to the search. If someone types “information architecture” into Google, they could be engaged in any number of tasks — self-teaching, looking for consulting help, looking for a definition, considering a career change, looking for a professional association, conducting research, etc. etc. Who knows? By offering genres as a filter, people can use that to narrow the results to those which are personally relevant at this time.