Supporting the Searcher’s Journey: When and How

Estimating the Complexity of the Search Journey

The first question is how to measure the complexity of the search journey. Here’s a simple measure: the total number of actions that the searcher takes along that journey. This measure glosses over the differences between actions, and particularly over the difference in searcher effort between, for example, clicking on a link and manually reformulating a query. Nonetheless, it is a simply way to quantify the complexity of the search journey.

How to Support the Searcher’s Journey

Once the search engine determines that a searcher is on a complex journey, it needs to determine the steps that provide the best guidance for that journey.

Search is a Journey and a Destination

Not all search needs are complex. When the searcher has a simple search need, the search engine should not complicate the experience; it should lead the searcher to the desired result as quickly and painlessly as possible.

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