Peter Morville Defends the Search
Jared Spool’s article bashing on-site searches has received a lot of attention. Peter Morville explains in his new article In Defense of Search why he feels on-site searches aren’t as bad as Spool claims and that they’re an important ingredient, especially for larger sites. While he agrees with Spool that better categorizing is helpful, "to encourage taxonomy design at the expense of search system design is a bad message to be sending in today’s web environment."
I agree with Morville that while many on-site searches certainly need to be improved they’re a necessary component for good usability, especially for larger sites.
Like others, I’ve experienced on-site searches that are useless or close to it, while others have been quite helpful. Still others can be downright entertaining at times. Amazon.com comes to mind, for example. While I can usually find what I need if Amazon.com carries it, their search does come up with some strange results sometimes, too.
Morville’s new article includes a good list of annotated links to more exploring, and both authors' sites have lots of interesting reading.