Optimizing Delivery

How you present search results to the end-user is an important aspect of their usability. Delivering search results is the conclusion of the Watson™ Explorer Engine process and can affect whether an application is successful or not. Developing a familiar and intuitive interface for users to begin their search, and presenting results in an understandable and productive manner will motivate end-users to adopt the platform you provide.

Tip: Ultimately, the delivery of your content should be designed to meet the needs of the user. Surveying the target audience and understanding their current work-flow techniques will give you the best insight into how to deliver content to them.

The following table is designed to help you decide which features will be beneficial to you when optimizing delivery. The left column of the table identifies a result that you may want to achieve, and the right column describes the feature(s) that can be utilized to achieve that goal.

Table 1. Delivery Optimization Features

If you want to...

Then the feature you need to learn about is:

...customize the look and feel of the standard Watson Explorer Engine display

Graphical Displays - The Watson Explorer Engine display lets you quickly create a customized interface for your users. Modular features and easily customizable CSS and XML make it easy to seamlessly add Watson Explorer Engine to your existing sites. Additional templates are provided that range from simple theme customizations to free XML.

...let users control search parameters based on related results

Refinements - You can deliver graphical or tree based refinements to users by choosing selected content elements to sort into groups (binning). These refinements can then be used by the user to constrain a query to whatever parameters the refinement is based on.

...allow users to influence search content by adding tags, comments, and other annotations

Collaborative/Social Search - By enabling social search options, you give the end user the opportunity to annotate results without affecting the original document. This lets users learn peer's thoughts on a particular result without interruptions or revisiting old topics. Annotations can also be searched, allowing documents to organically appear in more result sets when they are relevant. Annotations are configured within the Watson Explorer Engine display and include: Tags, Comments, Voting, Ratings, and Fields.

Note: In order to use collaborative features, users must be logged into Watson Explorer Engine, which allows Watson Explorer Engine to identify the source of each annotation, adding to the value of that annotation.

...give users the opportunity to share query results with other users

Saved Queries and Document Export - Users often need to share results with peers or retain the results for later use. Saved queries give the user the option of saving a query to a folder which can be accessed by others, and document export gives the user the option of exporting result information in multiple formats or to export the actual results by using Native Document Export.

...provide results in other content delivery platforms

Watson Explorer Engine Search Web Parts and Watson Explorer Engine API - Sometimes it may not be optimal to deliver results by integrating Watson Explorer Engine display contents into your web sites. IBM offers Watson Explorer Engine Search Web Parts to facilitate the integration of Watson Explorer Engine results into Microsoft Windows SharePoint 3.0, 2007 and 2010. The Watson Explorer Engine API enables application developers to integrate Watson Explorer Engine results into any application. Both REST and SOAP APIs are supported and any standard Watson Explorer Engine function can be executed through the API.

...deliver results to portable devices in a usable fashion

Mobile Displays - Watson Explorer Engine is delivered with multiple display templates, including mobile search templates which deliver customized content sets that automatically handle differences in screen size and connectivity.

...customize which parts of a result is delivered to the user

Source Parsers - Certain delivery methods may require specific result information to be included and/or omitted. Watson Explorer Engine enables you to control this within a single search collection by defining multiple sources for that collection. Each source can be written to provide a custom interface with the source collection.