Faceted Search

Traditional search metaphors have focused on typing in text strings for a couple of main reasons. First, it’s clearly easy from the user perspective to simply type in a text string that represents what is being searched. However, as we have all experienced, sometimes it takes some guesswork to type in the text string to bring the desired results. Second, consumer-oriented information systems such as the World Wide Web have been created without a consistent structure or syntax. For example web pages in most cases are simply pages of unstructured content surrounded by formatting tags and scripts.  Using free-text search has worked well enough for Google and the World Wide Web where information concepts have been essentially akin to “the Wild West.” However it’s nearly always a guessing game, and search results beyond the first page are commonly not relevant.

Within the enterprise, thankfully, information systems have structured content within the repositories and databases of tools and applications. And business people are much more typically searching for a known type of concept. For example, within software engineering circles, product managers or developers might wish to look for a particular Requirement, Issue, or Task.

Wikidsmart’s architecture inherently enables the ability to achieve category-based search or faceted search, to find the precise information quickly and easily.


Searching for "Requirement" associated with the keyword "mFlix" and Corresponding Search Results

In the example above, only the search results that match the exact criteria of both the Concept (“Requirement”) and the text string “mFlix*” are returned.

Search Results and Traceability

Perhaps even more interestingly, the results of the faceted search also display attributes that describe the search results in more detail. In this example, we see the dates associated to the Requirement, a description of the Requirement, as well as what the Requirement “elaborates,” for example, a Feature or a high level Requirement Document.

In the preceding example, when Clicking on “Elaborates: mFlix,” the associated use cases are displayed.


Traceability of Search Results: the Requirement and its Corresponding Use Cases

It is also possible to further explore the attribute related to the search result set, i.e. “drill-down” within the hierarchy of the elements, or “across” to tangentially related elements.  And it is also possible to click on any element in the result set and navigate to its source within the application where it was created.


Users can continue to drill down or across the search results, thus achieving traceability and traversing the information landscape

With the inherent ability to drill down or across the search results, Wikidsmart removes the obstacles to achieving traceability, thereby allowing complete knowledge of the information architecture.