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MattIreton
Archer Employee
Archer Employee

If you attended any roadmap presentations in the last few months you probably know that one of the main themes for the 6.6 release and beyond is improving the user experience. Since search and search results is something every user experiences when working in RSA Archer, eliminating some of the most common challenging issues when working with search results was focus for the release.  Let’s review just a few of the common issues.

 

Problem 1: After executing a search or a report, refining the results is difficult. Today, you have to click modify, leaving the context of the search results to view the Advanced Search page.  Then you have to create filters in a very flexible and powerful but somewhat complex user interface.

 

Problem 2: It is difficult to understand the distribution of the current result set. It is hard to quickly determine what values in each field occur the most often or how applying filters for values in one field affect the distribution of values in another field. Today you would need to build several statistical reports, grouping by different fields in each report. You would also still have to click modify to add filters to be able to see how refinements affected the counts for each group.

 

Problem 3: Adding, removing, or reordering the display fields for search results is cumbersome. To make any of these modifications, you again must leave the context of the results set by clicking Modify, where again you must interact with a flexible but complex user interface to update the display fields.

 

 

These challenges were address with two major improvements in 6.6

 

  1. Adding Faceted Search capabilities in a Refine By pane of search results
  2. Adding a Manage Columns popup to enable the more intuitive management of display fields without leaving search results.

 

Let’s look at each feature more in depth.

 

Refine By Pane (Faceted Search)

 

The introduction of a Refine By pane provides faceting capabilities for non-statistical set of search results. Faceted search is a common feature in many search engines and shopping websites. Facets provide a quick understanding of the distribution of the search result by displaying counts for attributes through various categories or fields in a result set, (e.g. Brand, Size, Price, etc.). Facets also provide end users with a highly intuitive mechanism to quickly refine the result set.

 

full faceted result.png

 

Highlights

  • The Refine By will show a separate section for each supported display field in the result set.
  • Visible counts of each value within a field that occurs in a non-statistical result set
  • Check boxes allow the user to refine the results by selected attributes
  • Users can select check boxes across all fields in the pane, and click Apply to refine the results based on the selections
  • Ability to convert facet selections to standard filters by saving the result set as a report
  • No extra configuration required per field, report or advanced search to use refine by pane

 

 

Field Support In Refine By Pane

The filters available in the Refine By pane include any of the following field types displayed in the primary application.

  • Values Lists
  • Dates
  • First Published
  • Last Updated
  • Users/Groups
  • Record Permissions
  • Cross-references
  • Related Records
  • Numeric Range

 

Fields of these types will not be shown if:

  • Fields are already used in base search filters. The results already have a base refinement for this field and possible conflicts with the Advanced Operator Logic used in the initial search are eliminated.
  • Fields are from secondary applications in an n-tier search.
  • Fields have encryption enabled.

 

 

Values Shown Per Field Type 

The following shows what values appear for each field type based on the current result set.

 

  • Values List:
    • All values that appear in the results ordered by count.
    • Hierarchical values lists show all values at each level of the hierarchy. Counts are rolled-up to include children selected. (e.g. the count for U.S. value includes all results where any state in the U.S. is selected).
  • Date, First Published, and Last Updated:
    • All Month-Year combinations that appear in the results ordered by date in descending order.
    • Counts include all dates within that month-year combination.
  • Cross-reference and Related Records:
    • All values that appear in the results ordered by count.
    • Cross-reference fields that point to multiple levels collect values under a sub-header for each level.
  • User/Group and Record Permission:
    • All values that appear in the results ordered by count.
    • Values are collected under separate sub-headings for Groups and Users.
  • Numeric Range:
    • All range groupings that occur in the results ordered by count.

 

Applying Selections

When a user makes selections in the pane and clicks Apply to refine the result set the following rules are utilized:

 

  • Selections within flat Values List, Cross-reference, Related Record, User/Group, Record Permission, and Numeric Range fields are applied as one Contains filter for each field.
  • Selections within a hierarchical values list field are applied as one Contains Inclusive filter for each field.
    • The Contains Inclusive filter includes results where the selected value or any of its descendants are selected.
  • Selections within Date, First Published and Last Updated fields are applied as Between filters for each selection within the field, so that the filter includes records between the first and last day of the selected month.
    • If there are multiple selections in a field, the Between filters are paired using the OR operator.
  • Selections across multiple fields are paired using the AND operator, so that results represent an intersection.
  • All filters applied by Refine By pane selections are paired using the AND operator with the base filters of the initial search.
  • Values shown in the Refine By pane are maintained on Apply, even if they no longer occur in results. This means some values can show 0 counts. This helps users understand how their initial results are affected by the application of facets.

 

Saving Selections With A Report 

Selections applied in the Refine By pane can be saved as part of a new or existing report. This conversion occurs during the report save process. The Refine By pane selections are converted to standard search results filters. The rules for filter conversion follow the same logic used in applying the selections.

  • Selections within a flat Values List, Cross-reference, Related Record, User/Group, Record Permission and Numeric Range fields are converted to one Contains filter for each field.
  • Selections within a hierarchical values list field are converted as one Contains Inclusive filter for each field.
  • Selections within Date, First Published, and Last Updated fields are converted as Between filters for each selection within the field. If there are multiple selections in a field, the Between filters are paired using the OR operator in a group in the Advanced Operator Logic.
  • Selections across multiple fields are paired using the AND operator in the Advanced Operator Logic, so that results represent a intersection.
  • All filters converted from the Refine By pane selections are grouped together in the Advanced Operator Logic. This grouping is then paired using the AND operator with the base filters of the initial search.
  • Once a faceted selection is converted to a standard search results filter, the field no longer appears in the Refine By pane.

 

 

 

 

 

Manage Columns

 

The introduction of a Manage Columns link in search results allows the end-user to invoke a Manage Columns popup where display fields or columns can be easily added, removed or reordered.

 manage columns.png

 

 

Highlights

  • Check boxes on the left show already selected columns.
  • Users can add fields by selecting check boxes or clicking fields.
  • Fields can be removed by selecting check boxes or removing fields from selected pane.
  • Find in available pane allows you to search by field name or field type
  • Application relationships are represented in an intuitive on-demand tree structure vs the Add Relationship mechanism used in Advanced search.
  • Can build multi-level or multi-application display field configurations.

 

ntier manage columns.png

 

 

As you can see these two features together significantly improve the usability of search results by immediately providing more details about the data in the results and a more intuitive interface to refine them. Check in tomorrow and Thursday for details about even more search improvements unleashed in 6.6. All of the search improvements will be covered in this week’s Free Friday Tech Huddle so please tune in to see these features in action.