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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Second Edition by Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld

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Benefits to Users

As Microsoft’s intranet environment matured in the mid-90s, it began to suffer from the same afflictions as most enterprise intranets: too many clicks to get to desired information, difficult site-wide navigation, and the best documents buried deep within search results. And, as mentioned earlier, users and their champions began to ask for taxonomies to make these problems go away.

The MSWeb team’s response is a work in progress. Four years is a brief moment in the lifespan of a large company and its information systems. The team is taking an evolutionary approach, avoiding unrealistic goals of fixing all problems for everyone in a few years. In this way, there are no false expectations. But even in four years, many concrete benefits have been realized, and taxonomies are at the forefront of these improvements. With category label taxonomy, for example, the labels are more representative and consistent, improving navigation within MSWeb and between Microsoft intranet sites.

Searching is also greatly improved. By encouraging resource record creation with UCS, MSWeb is able to identify valuable content in the intranet environment, and therefore can do a better job of crawling remote intranet content. Better crawling leads to more comprehensive indexing. Users are now querying indexes that represent both a much larger body of content and a higher-quality collection of content. More importantly, users’ queries are more powerful than before—they are able to take advantage ...

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