Archive for Search personalization

How to develop a personalization strategy

Join us at the Gilbane Conference in Boston December 1-3 and learn how your peers are building superior digital experiences for customers and employees. Personalization is a big, and complex, component of customer experiences. A successful strategy for your organization needs to consider all the stakeholders and lots of variables. This workshop will help you begin, or review, your personalization strategy.

Workshop A. Developing a Personalization Strategy: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

In this workshop, we will discuss the thinking necessary to build a strong personalization strategy for any organization. Illuminating a range of different types of strategy and effective scenarios for different organization types, we will pull back the details to understand the commonalities, decision paths, and frameworks for organizing these strategies.

The session will also ground the discussion in some operational complexity associated with personalization strategy, including:

  • Assessing existing user behavior as a prerequisite of personalization strategy
  • Audience segmentation and CRM
  • The interaction between personalization strategy and UX planning

For attendees, the workshop will provide both an overview of this complex subject, and the chance to discuss their own challenges and align them with strategies that can work.

Instructor: John Berndt, CEO, TBG (The Berndt Group)
Tuesday, December, 1: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. • Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston

This workshop is included in the ConferencePlus package. Save $200 on the ConferencePlus and Conference Only options. To get your Bluebill discount use priority code 200BB when registering online.

I would like my $200 registration discount – code 200BB

Personalized Search in the Enterprise

This is an interesting topic for two reasons: there is enormous diversity in the ways we all think and go about finding content; personalizing a search interface without being intrusive is extremely difficult. Any technology that requires us to do activities according to someone else’s design, which bends our natural inclination, is by definition not going to be personal.
This topic comes to mind because of two unrelated pieces of content I read in the past 24 hours. The first was an email asking me about personal information management and automated tagging, and the second was an interview I read with Mike Moran, a thought leader in search and speaker at one of our Gilbane Conferences. In the interview, Mike talks about personalized search. Then Information Week referenced search personalization in an article about a patent suit against Google.
Here is my take on the many personalized search themes that have recently emerged. From dashboards to customizing results, options to focus on particular topics or types of content, socialized search to support interacting with and sharing results, to retrieving content we personally created or received (email), content we used or were named in, all might be referred to as search personalization. Getting each to work well will enhance enterprise search but….
Knowing how transient and transformative our thoughts and behaviors really are, we should focus realistically on the complexity of producing software tools and services that satisfy and enhance personal findability. We are ambiguous beings, seeking structured equilibrium in many of our activities to create efficiency and reduce anxiety, while desiring new, better, quicker and smarter devices to excite and engage us. Once we achieve a level of comfort with a method or mechanism, whether quickly or over time, we evolve and seek change. But, when change is imposed on an unprepared mind, our emotions probably override any real benefit that might be gained in productivity. Then we tend to self-sabotage the potential for operational usefulness when an uncomfortable process intrudes. Mental lack of preparedness undermines our work when a new design demands a behavioral shift that lacks connection to our current state or past experiences. How often are we just not in a frame of mind to take on something totally alien, especially with deadlines looming?
Look at the single most successful aspect of Google, minimalism in its interface. One did not need to wade through massively dense graphics scrambled with text in disordered layouts to figure out what to do when Google first appeared. The focus was immediately obvious.
I am presenting this challenge to vendors; there is a need to satisfy a huge array of personal preferences while introducing a minimal amount of change in any one release. Easy adoption requires that new products be simple. Usefulness must be quickly obvious to multiple audiences.
I am presenting this challenge to technology users; focus your appetite. Decide before shopping or adopting new tools what would bring the most immediate productivity gain and personal adoptability for maximum efficiency. Think about how defeated you feel when approaching a new release of an upgraded product that has added so many new “bells and whistles” that you are consumed with trying to rediscover all the old functions and features that gave your workflow a comfortable structure. Think carefully about how much learning and re-adjusting will be needed if you decide on technology that promises to do everything, with unlimited personalization. It may be possible, but does it really feel personally acceptable.