DonnaM » Blog Archive » Things that make me mad – part 1

Things that make me mad – part 1

I got mad yesterday. So mad that I waited until today to post.

It’s the little things that push me over the edge. And one thing that best pushes my anger buttons is guru statements that are not well-thought out or blatantly wrong.

This post (I’m not going to help its ranking by giving it a good link title) did it yesterday. G McG basically says that search is unnecessary. Based on a sample size of one. It isn’t highly-used on his site, therefore it mustn’t be important at all.

This is so wrong. As I wrote in ‘Four Modes of Seeking Information and How to Design for Them‘, it is all about the types of information-seeking tasks or approaches that people use. Were I in this situation, my conclusion would not be ‘search is irrelevant’ but ‘what are people doing on my site that means search isn’t as important’. I’m guessing most page views come from external search or from his weekly email and may conclude that people don’t otherwise come to the site with a known-item approach. That’s interesting, and you can use this information to design a better experience. But it doesn’t mean search is unnecessary.

And apart from all that, it is so poorly written it made me wince. No wonder I don’t subscribe.

One Response to “Things that make me mad – part 1”

  1. David Humphreys Says:

    And unlike your blog we can’t comment on his site and disagree with him. 8-)
    I admit your article has been on my ‘to do’ list for a while, but I skimmed it and it very much gels with my own experience. McGovern, who I usually have a lot of time for, is so wrong on this on. I can counter his sample size of 1 with my sample sizes of 2 and relate the experiences with my organisation’s intranet and internet.

    Both are using out of date tech to power their search(Site Server 3.0) and have had almost no attention paid to them in several years for a variety of reasons, some good some bad. All of the results are bad.

    Our internet site suffers from poor returns. Normal story. Its worse for our intranet becasue due to the way our CMS has to interact with the indexer the search on the intranet is fundamentally broken. This leaves us completely dependent on our navigation and what little user analysis I’ve been able to do (a survey, and anecdotal evidence) it doesn’t work for everybody. Our intranet is lame without a decent search engine, and as time and resources have been stripped from it (it no longer has a dedicated resource – that used to be me)the nav is slowly degrading at the lower levels as well.

    Yep McGovern is off the mark on this one.