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
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.
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.
Fields of these types will not be shown if:
Values Shown Per Field Type
The following shows what values appear for each field type based on the current result set.
When a user makes selections in the pane and clicks Apply to refine the result set the following rules are utilized:
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.
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.
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.