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I did an evaluation of the online directory by picking random subjects and searching through various key words. The web pages have less than ten key words per Department and Service offered.
The results were poor. The County (King County WA)is a complicated network and users will probably not know the specific names of departments or the services. I suggested in the report that I submitted that Departments and Services should have a detailed description and the description should be scanned for matches to the search words.
Is this the right way to go? I appreciate any and all feedback on the subject.
Thanks in advance
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I'm not completely clear about what your project is. Are you saying that a traditional yahoo type directory already exists on their intranet and you are working on porting over to the web so people living in King County can use it, or are you creating a new on from scratch?
I also notice that the King County Official web site us a search function the utilizes UltraSeek. I tried a few searches on it and it seemed to produce good results. If they Already use UltraSeek which has full text indexing capabilities, why aren't they using that to search the intranet?
The only problem with using Ultraseek is that the individual descriptions of the departments and services are often uninformative and blank. I suggested to my boss that descriptions should be detailed and Ultraseek should be used. She was not very open to this idea. She then suggested that we survey random people on the street and ask them what key words they would use. Does she know what she is doing in your opinions? What is the best way to set up this search? I think the Ultraseek would be more efficient than key words if they are used in combination with a detailed description of the departments and services.
I'm not clear on exactly which text will be searched, but I'd think if people don't know the Department, they'd need to be able to type in whatever phrases pertain to what they're looking for.
Also, will they be searching for the information only at the County Directory site, or will they be doing internet searches, like "Kings County property taxes"?
I just got the news that I am responsible for getting the hundreds of descriptions from the various departments. That's what I get. At least I know it will be done well and with a full text search in mind. Any arguments for the use of Key words? My boss thinks that ful text searches will result in too many hits.
The biggest drawback of a directory is the limited ability to find soecific information. Having such a full-throttle package like US and not using it to its fullest potential seems like a pretty big waste.