Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A-Z Indexes on Intranets

Intranet Benchmarking Forum: A-Z Indexes on Intranets.

We have an A-Z on the current version of our intranet. It serves three purposes:
  1. It serves as a placeholder for content not on the intranet, but just a person to call on the topic.
  2. It helps with the short-comings in the intranet search. This is in part because information is not on the intranet or a repository indexed by the intranet.
  3. It helps with the short-comings in the navigation on the intranet. It is difficult to browse deep into the intranet structure.
We are in the process of redesigning our intranet and upgrading its platform from Sharepoint 2003 to Sharepoint 2007. One of my goals in our redesign and upgrade is not remove the need for an A-Z index. I think we will end up keeping it in place because people have gotten used to it.

To remove the need for the A-Z index, we will need to make sure that the content ends up in the Sharepoint platform or a repository that is indexed by Sharepoint. We need to make sure that the item gets returned in the search results and is displayed in a way that is meaningful to the searcher. We also need to improve the navigation so people can more easily browse to the most important and most used content.

If we succeed then we would not need the A-Z index. People have gotten used to the A-Z index, so we cannot take away the feature.

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