Sometimes, SharePoint Server 2007 administrators become lost in the details of implementing Search technologies and overlook the end users who interact and experience with the technologies administrators deploy. It is easy to forget that what you do at the server end has an impact on end users. And since first impressions tend to be lasting, it's important to ensure that you configure and deploy an impressive search technology right off the bat for end users.
There are a number of ways in which end users experience Search technologies:
The Search box appears on every portal site page, with the exception of properties and settings pages. This includes InfoPath and Project Web Access pages. The Search scope drop-down list contains all the site-level and shared scopes that are needed for the entire site collection. As administrators, you have an impact on this part of the user experience by the number and type of search scopes you create and the content sources you crawl.
When a user enters a query in the Search box, there is an implied OR for all queries. What this means is that, out of the box, the simple search Web Part will look for any or all of the words in the query. You can have impact on an increased positive experience by ensuring that the user has been exposed to training on how to enter proper queries.
At the SSP level, the user's experience is affected by the content sources that you crawl as well as search scopes you create.The user can't query that which isn't in the index. As an administrator, you need to pay careful attention to the content that you crawl. You need to ensure that you crawl only that content users will want to see in their result sets. The more focused your efforts are on ensuring you only crawl content that needs to be in the index, the more helpful and focused the result sets will be for the end user. Few things are more frustrating than receiving result sets full of superfluous content items that match the query, but doesn't find the content for which the user is looking.
Each Search Web Part has a link to advanced search, and the normal way to work with the Search and advanced Search Web Parts is to use the Search center. The Search center is a Search-specific area of the portal site activated by enabling the Search feature. As administrators, you can positively affect the user experience by exposing managed properties that the users can use to focus and sharpen their query. In addition, you can help site administrators implement result set Web Part property configurations that help filter and craft the result set that end users see.
The ability to find people or discussions in special search tabs is built in, meaning that site administrators do not need to go through the steps to configure a special tab just to find people in the Search center. As administrators, you can help users to have a more positive experience by teaching them how to use the people-finding technologies in the Search center and help them understand how the Knowledge Network features are connected.
Site owners can create new types of searches using finder tabs/search tabs Web Parts using specific relevant properties that are configured in the Web Part's properties. In addition, site owners can customize the location and appearance of search results for customized needs. In this area, you can add value by training site owners how to configure the search Web Parts and the result set Web Parts, as well as helping them configure customized result set pages.
With the Advanced search Web Parts, users can use additional logic for their queries, such as NOT or OR. In addition, users can select multiple-scope searches, execute language-restricted searches, and search by both content type and property, within a specified date range. Once again, education and training is the key to adding value for end users. You should teach them how to execute queries and how to use the content types for properties that you have exposed to their advantage when creating a query.
As you can see, in this version, many important search and query features are exposed to the end user. It is important to educate users if they will be using many of the features that are available to them.