Different Strokes for Different Folks
Within the flexibility theme, SKM offers multiple search interfaces dependent upon the users’ experience (novice vs. advanced) and the context of what problem they are looking to solve. Critical to the success or failure of any system is the “look and feel” of the user interface (UI).
The approach adopted by Servigistics is to provide a flexible UI design framework that can accommodate the specific requirements of any user level. The tools to modify the system’s interface are delivered with the system, including a comprehensive set of instructions. The modes of user interaction with the system are as follows:
In a Guided Search mode, users can describe their problems in their own words and Knowledge Advisor dynamically generates the most relevant questions to quickly address the problem at hand. Through this process, the user is walked through a natural question and answer (Q&A) dialogue to results. Even if a user is not able to answer a question from the Advisor, he or she can skip it and the Advisor will simply narrow the results by asking a different question. This approach is fully automated and requires no pre-programming to execute;
In a Text Search mode, regardless of how a problem or question is stated in Knowledge Advisor, the system reads every word input and has the intelligence to understand the context of the words (i.e., it can account for the use of synonyms, acronyms, abbreviations, misspellings and lexical patterns). For example, words that are searched can include the “exact” word matches or perhaps if a user enters a code number, Knowledge Advisor would be able to detect if the code entry matches, e.g., the pattern of a product model number or an error code pattern; and
Finally, if an experienced Knowledge Advisor agent uses the system, he or she can bypass the Guided Search and drill down through the system to quickly find the “right” solution with Expert Search. This search method directly exposes the metadata of the domain model, allowing the user to query the specific metadata areas directly and even change the weight of the areas.