Research In Motion : Searching blindfold

An accurate internal search mechanism is negated by poor presentation and missing features..

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The feature

Research In Motion (RIM), Canada-based BlackBerry maker, handicaps an above-average search engine with a below-par results display. RIM has a standard keyword search field at top right across its corporate site. Search results are listed 10 to a page, each one consisting of a linked title line and a two-line excerpt from the target page in which the submitted search term highlighted in bold. There is no indication of the section of the site from which a result originates. PDF matches are labelled as such and show a date, but otherwise there is no category, systematic dating or URL with which to identify the results further. There are no dedicated search tools within sections such as Investors or Newsroom.

The takeaway

Tests reveal the underlying engine behind RIM’s internal search to be good, above average even. Users are being denied the full benefit, however, through lack of follow-up support to identify the results most relevant to their line of enquiry. Context is difficult to grasp quickly from the listed information. Combined with the lack of filtering or other advanced search options this is a recipe for user frustration with a basically well-functioning search engine. The more so given the high proportion of press and financial releases in the returns and the depth of archives going back to 1998 with no alternative means of search. Without filters with which to focus their search or narrow the results users have no choice but to scan the entire list for relevant matches – or, more likely, play ‘top 10 roulette’ and ignore all but the first page of results.
First published 10 May, 2012
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