A Commonly encountered argument is that “content without access is worthless” findability is the art of making sure your content is easily found. Wikipedia defines Findability as “Findability is a term for the ease with which information contained on a website can be found” Findability expert Peter Morville defines Findability thus
“the ability of users to identify an appropriate web site and navigate the pages of the site to discover and retrieve relevant information sources”(source: Wikipedia)
Informationarchitechted provide the following definition:
‘Effective Findability retrieves content in context. Therein lies the crux of Findability. It cannot be attained simply by search – even a powerful search. Findability provides intuitive interaction between the user and the content. It provides multiple ways at getting to content, each tailored to a specific type of retrieval need, which includes necessary controls over security.’(informationarchitect.com)
I think an easy way to picture findability is to facilitate the creation of information trails which give users the impression they are on the right track to getting the information they need, as stated context is a defining characteristic of findability. Although findability is used interchangeably with a number of different terms such as searchability and indexability there are subtle differences between them it is this confusion I will attempt to clear up now.
Searchability is a closely related term which is concerned with how easily ‘specific content within a site may be accessed when using a search engine (deep linking) afhill.com defines Searchability thus
‘Searchability refers to the idea that site visitor can easily navigate to the specific information he’s searching for within the site’ (source: afhills.com)
I feel the difference is related to the means of locating content within a website using an internal search engine. Where findability refers to the way that the site and content is organized this includes factors such as taxonomies. Informationarchitect.com suggest that A fundamental difference between Findability and its predecessor and component, search, is where the burden of effort lies. Under Findability, the burden of intelligent con- tent processing is placed on the content itself (source: informationarchitect.com). Now that we’ve got some working definitions I’ll look into ways that the findability of content can be improved on your website.
As Discussed previously context is a fundamental factor when considering the findability of data. When considering both findability and usability and usability a lot of data is paid to taxonomies. Taxonomies refers to how content is organised a readily understood example of a taxonomy is in music players such as iTunes where music files are sorted into albums, genres and artist. Having a robust taxonomy is vital when organising larger music collections when considering both findability and usability this is where there is a degree of overlap between the two disciplines, well structured content leads to logical website navigation
, Well-structured content makes the process of locating it intuitive.
In an era where content is seen as vital it is imperative that site visitors can quickly and easily locate the information they want failure to achieve this will drive visitors to other sites and may cost your company sales and goodwill