IntraTeam Findability Event 13 June 2022 – conference report

This year IntraTeam has replaced its annual three-day conference with three one-day themed events. The second of these took place on 13 June with the focus of findability in its widest sense, covering not just ‘search’ but also information architecture and navigation. The scene was set by Kurt Kragh Sorenson with his opening poll of the delegates. Using Mentimeter the delegates were invited to vote on whether their enterprise search or intranet implementation was delivering search satisfaction. It came as no surprise to me that most of the delegates were some distance away from ‘very satisfied’. Given this outcome it was surprising that there were only around 60 delegates. Was this because most search managers have given up hope of ever achieving a high level of satisfaction?

The programme was (as always at IntraTeam) well balanced with a good mix of case studies and consultants, and the involvement of the main sponsors FirstUp and Pointwork in presentations and round tables. It was a pleasure to see sponsors ‘playing the game’ in a low-key but very effective way.

When it comes to the speakers Sue Hanley stood out for the clarity and enthusiasm of her presentations, all the more so because Sue had to take the place of Agnes Molnar, who was not able to come to the event. I especially valued Sue’s round-up of the Microsoft Search ecosystem, the complexity of which took Sue over 35 minutes to describe. Listening to Sue I realized for the first time exactly why so many of the delegates were open to me about the lack of confidence they had in Microsoft Search and the ability of Microsoft to deliver enhancements on a timely basis. Search in Teams is just one current example.

The overriding message from the presentations and discussions is that neither search nor IA/navigation can solve all the discovery challenges in intranets. There has to be a blend of both, a strong recommendation from the very first edition of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web (Morville and Rosenfeld) published in 1998 and constantly reiterated by the Nielsen Norman Group. However, achieving satisfaction is not just about the technology but about content quality and training, the last of which was heavily emphasized by Sue Hanley.

Overall, another excellent event from IntraTeam, who from my personal experience have achieved consistently high levels of conference satisfaction since 2000. Next up is Stockholm on 20 October but there is nothing to stop you becoming a member of the IntraTeam community programme.

Martin White