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Stefan Is… researching the art (or is it Science?) of Search

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Believe it or not, Search is a relatively new technology.  You probably perform a few searches a day… how satisfied are you with the results?

Stefan and I sat down with Martin, a Senior Product Manager on the Search team, to find out the process for improving search and where things may be trending.  An interesting discussion with the slickest sticky-note you’ve seen today Wink.

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  • Please invest in some clip-on microphones. It is very hard to hear you talking at some points.
  • Solution to Live Search, appoint me supreme chancellor of the search division.

    There are simple key things that will make Live Search better.

    #1 Indexing Speed. Google picks up my forum posts and recent news almost instantly, where as live search takes an unknown amount of time.

    #2 Relevancy, self explainatory.

    Live Search fails in both areas. Google has better unit conversions as well.

    Live Search is pretty good at flight tracking though.

    http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=UA511&form=QBLH


    If a company could create a search engine that had an index of products available locally and compare the prices of those between local stores and the stores online with shipping costs.....I would be amazed.

    Ask me about that product during user studies, I can tell you if it will fail or not Tongue Out

    Also this new video player is sweet, but I get some odd errors almost everytime I view a video.

  • You can't handle my nameKoogle I'm a Terminator - Astalavista, Vis7a!
    I'm not satisified with any of MS sh/ty search features.. none of them.. they are all crap one way or another..! won't even say what i think of the hotmail webmail searching/ui..   somewhere along the line in your development/research of search features there is a LARGE amount of FAIL! going on... probably doesn't help that you aim target these features for noobs and get noob research/feedback from it, cus they're obviously ain't giving you guys enough flak about how utterly crap these search features are,  you guys plainly suck at doing any of it right (bit like any of the teams workin on product with the word Explorer in the title!)  specially in the UI design and allowing users to make more advanced queries quickly and easily, let alone filtering those results.
  • Non-Sequitor: Why is the text in the form reply box smaller than the text of posted replies???

    OK, I've written my post three times and it ends in me ranting about all the things which annoy me from Live Search to Hotmail. 

    Personally, I think that MS should do less things well, instead of more things not so well.  It really annonys me when people who use words like "opportunities", "products", "solutions", "northwind", and "scenarios" talk about usability.  It's insulting.  Your users are not stupid and most of us use computers to "get things done".  We don't really care about gradients, fancy effects (they are cool at first, but almost always get in the way), and transparent windows (it's distracting).

    #1. When I first went to live.com after hearing about it, it looks though someone forgot to make the interface the size of the page.

    #2. The start page and results page are not layout consistent.

    #3. Am I able to customize the look of live.com like my iGoogle?  If I am able to, it's not discoverable.

    #4.  I searched my name and got very weird results.  The only result with my name was from four years ago.  I did a Google search and the first result is my linkedin profile, much more relevant than, "New St. John Ambulance Headquarters opens on the Mountain | NDP".

    #5. Consistent Branding, ASP.NET has master pages, why not use them

    The one thing that Live Search gets right that Google gets wrong is Microsoft related searches.  I just searched "asp.net" and results I received were exactly what expected.

    Things that would make me switch:

    #1. Sorting and Filtering.  Stale results are annoying, we all know that feeling.  We're doing research or figuring something out and the top ten results are older than my car.  Let me sort by date or last modified or last indexed.

    #2. Cleaner interface.  Get rid of all the gradients and graphics and fancy search buttons.  How about a logo, text box, button and footer? I know that Marketing might have a seizure but that's OK, we can hold hands.

    #3. Advanced Search.  Why is there no "Advanced Search" from the results screen, only from the home page?  Oh wait, I found it, but I had to search the page with CTRL+F first, not good usabilty.

    Well that's about all I have the time for.  Please please please improve products and not just pop stuff out to compete with the other guy.  Do less things well.  Microsoft has tons and tons of resources and employs very very very smart people, improve usability, improve existing features, and make power toys.  Microsoft can do better.

    Thanks for listening.
    Chris
  • Maxmaxzuck Spaceman Spiff!
    I have those... now all I need is a camera with a mic input Tongue Out
  • lol, well that's a start I guess. Smiley

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