Search and Findability

I’m at WordCamp San Francisco 2008 today and had the distinct pleasure of giving a talk on Search and Findability. Distinct pleasure because it was the first session of the day at 9am. And if any of you know me, then you know that I don’t do mornings well. :-)

My session was about Search and Findability. There seemed to be a lot of misunderstandings about what the session would be about. Findability is not SEO. SEO is an aspect of Findability. SEO makes a blog findable for search engines.

Really, Findability is all about the right data being available to the reader, whether that reader is human or a machine (search engines). To that end, theme structure is a major area of concerns. Theme developers can setup their themes to have related posts or popular posts functionality, as well as attention to search implementation. I suggested theme authors should provide search results in full format, and not simply excerpts.

Secondly, findability is all about metadata and descriptive data. Microformats provide a human semantic understanding to machine-oriented descriptive data. Examples are

1
rel="nofollow"

,

1
rel="tag"

as well as WordPress built in XFN. Human understanding of machine data.

Multimedia content should take advantage of descriptive content. This means image tagging, show notes for podcasts and caption text for videos. Of course, and understanding of tags and categories is helpful.

Thirdly, I touched briefly on Ambient Findability, a concept introduced by Peter Morville in the O’Reilly publication with the same name. Ambient Findability suggests that no matter what, where or how, content should be easily findable. At b5media the mantra was “the right content, at the right time, to the right person on the right device”. Morville asks three questions:

  1. Can people find your blog?
  2. Can people find their way around your blog?
  3. Can people find your content, products and services despite your blog?

Finally, I suggested four plugins/features that can enhance the findability of a site:

  1. Possibly Related Posts – Only available for WordPress.com users.
  2. Search Everything – makes all areas of WordPress content available for the default search
  3. Microformats plugins – adds additional Microformats support to WordPress: Micro Anywhere, Blog Summary and Save Microformats
  4. Lijit for WordPress – our new plugin that allows registration and configuration from inside of the WordPress admin. Also, it makes it possible to hijack the theme search form.

The slide deck from the session is available below. It is Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial licensed. In other words, use the idea, use the concepts, use the deck in it’s entirety as long as you attrbiute me. I’m Aaaron Brazell from Technosailor.com in case you didn’t know. Oh, and if you make money, I expect a cut. ;-)

Findability Abwc2008
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Facebook se enfrenta a OpenSocial

Facebook ha decidido ofrecer su plataforma de programación al resto de los networks sociales, picándole adelante a Google y su esperado OpenSocial.

Google OpenSocial surgió como una respuesta a la Plataforma Facebook, ofreciéndole al resto de los networks sociales la oportunidad de crear aplicaciones que pudieran inter-operar entre los distintos sitios. Pero OpenSocial todavía no está listo y aún falta mucho por definir sobre su funcionamiento.

Facebook responde ahora con PlatformArchitecture, permitiéndole a cualquier website aprovechar el lenguaje de programación de Facebook. De este modo, cualquier website podrá ofrecer a sus usuarios gran cantidad de aplicaciones que ya existen para Facebook.

Estas iniciativas permiten que usuarios de networks sociales utilicen servicios ofrecidos por otros websites (iLike, por ejemplo) y que compartan experiencias con miembros de su mismo network social (Zombie, Acuario, etc).

Lo que falta es una herramienta que permita a los usuarios de un network social interactuar con los usuarios de otro network social. OpenID, OAuth y XFN son tres iniciativas encaminadas a lograr esto, pero que necesitan ser simplificadas (¿con deNerd-a-tex?) para poder ser entendidas y utilizadas por el grueso de la población.

Si te interesa saber más sobre estas tres iniciativas, déjanos un comentario aquí en la página y desarrollaremos el tema en una columna futura.