Recently, I’ve been talking a lot of search paradigm and findability in PLM. In many aspects, web search changed our life. Search remains one of the fundamental user experience in consumer space and web. We search for tasks, locations, emails, friends, events and many other things. Search is different when we speak about business. Enterprise search as a software that helps to search information inside applications data sources inside a company is around many years. However it is a different type of solution even today. In PLM domain, we can different patterns of search development by vendors. I described some of them here – Multiple Facets of PLM search.
One of the most interesting patterns related to search are actually starts after you find a desired sources of information. One of the trends here is to simplify user experience and make search rich and actionable. You probably familiar with Google Rich Snippet functionality. It presents a combined set of information about the result and some actions (sometimes buttons and sometimes other user interface elements) that can lead you to a target web site or specific activities. However, Google is not alone in their strategy to make information access easier and actionable.
Here is another example of actionable search user experience. It called Islands and it presented by Russian search company – Yandex. Navigate your browser to the following article – Think Google’s rich snippets are useful? Russia’s Yandex goes one better. The following passage explains how Yandex islands functionality works:
Let’s say the user searches for “Moscow Berlin air tickets.” A normal search result will link to an airline’s website. A rich snippet will also present direct links to the airline’s booking or special offers pages, perhaps along with the airline’s telephone booking number and its opening times. An island, or interactive snippet, could present a form through which the user can check into their flight online or begin the booking process based on real-time data – right from within Yandex’s search results.
Yandex Islands and Google Rich snippets made me think about some user experience transformations in PLM user experience. Think about transforming results into actionable information. Couple of examples. Working with document reviews scenario. You search for documents and have the ability to access multiple viewable including sharing and review actions. Another one is more related to structured processes like engineering change order (ECO). This scenario can start from ECO search. When you found a specific ECO, can get an access to important ECO details (description, dependencies) as well as make action (review, approve, etc.). I’m sure can come with more examples how to turn regular PLM scenarios easier with the use of rich search user interface.
What is my conclusion? User experience excellence. This is what matters these days. It is about how to innovate by focusing on small details of interaction between users and software. It is about how to optimize information and action flow. To eliminate additional clicks, switches between screens and bring some consumer practice to enterprise systems like PLM is the goal. It can be an interesting step towards future PLM excellence. Just my thoughts…