When talking about search, most people only consider technology: the search engine is a huge black box, which does something invisible, something magic, and expected to provide the relevant results.
However, it is important to understand that search is a complex process – with a great deal of human involvement.
In their amazing search UX book, Search Patterns, Peter Morville and Jeffery Callender provide a great picture to demonstrate where human involvement is necessary in search: In most cases, humans are the ones who create and curate the content, and also, they’re the ones who consume the results. In search, this means they enter their queries, select refiners, etc., and in the end, get the results in the hope they are relevant.
Humans create, curate, search and consume content.
Search is more than technology.
Of course, the search technology we use is important.
Maybe you have heard earlier this year that Google had announced that they would retire GSA (Google Search Appliance), their enterprise search engine. For organizations who use GSA, this will be super painful because they will have to set up and configure a totally new search engine in less than 2 years. – And their main target will be the same group of users, working with the same content. You can imagine, it’s not going to be a easy ride for them.
Technology is important.
Technology can help us, and can also be painful.
But search is much more that that.
Search is much more than just turning it on and using a search engine.