A new SharePoint site can be a nice shiny new toy to some and ‘just another tool’ to others. Our information architecture and taxonomy determine how easy it ‘should’ be for users to find information. After all, there is a cost associated with a lack of discoverability and usability of a given SharePoint site. It is important that we are always enforcing governance to ensure the site is being used properly and we also need to be able to measure the successes and shortcomings of our sites.
We have a couple of tools out of the box that we can use to see how the site is being used.
Popularity/Usage Reports (Site Settings –> Popularity and Search Reports)
This report is surfaced in two different areas
- Site Settings –> Popularity Trends (Site Administration)
- Site Settings –> Popularity & Search Reports (Site Collection Administration)
In both areas we have a Usage report. The usage report will show us daily/monthly site hits and unique visitors.
Storage Metrics (Site Settings –> Storage Metrics)
The storage metrics page (Site Settings –> Storage Metrics (Site Collection Administration)) gives us some good information about each object within our site such as how much storage it is using and when it was last modified. Keep in mind system lists and libraries will show in this report that may now show much storage or activity but are needed for SharePoint to function properly. (e.g Style Library, _catalogs, etc.)
This is a must-use tool in Office 365. Because office 365 enforces a quota for each site collection, the storage metrics page will show you how your site ranks against the quota.
Top Queries (Site Settings –> Popularity and Search Reports)
SharePoint 2013 uses search more than ever. We have new search web parts, FAST search engine, and built in Analytics. Knowing how users are searching for is key. Maybe our users are searching for the word Customer X and really need to be using Vendor X to find the right result. Knowing what is being searched can help us modify our search architecture to surface the most relevant results to our users and keep them coming back.
The reports tells us which Result source was used, what the actual query was, and how many times it was used
Abandoned Queries (Site Settings –> Popularity and Search Reports)
This report is important. This tells us which queries are being abandoned which means resulting in no click-through. If a user is searching for something and not click on any of the results it could mean that their search term is not producing the content they are looking for. We can then start to tweak our search architecture with the use of tagging, keywords or even query rules to ensure the correct results are showing with the respective query.
No results (Site Settings –> Popularity and Search Reports)
This report will show queries that have been performed that produced No Results. This could help identify KQL (Keyword Query language) syntax issues. For example if a user is trying to use a suffix wildcard with the keyword such as *TestProject. This will fail as KQL queries don’t support suffix matching. (KQL Syntax) This may help uncover potential training for your users or a simple quick tip on your SharePoint page for users.
Query rules, formerly know as Best Bets, provide a great tools for promoting search results and showing relevant information to the search query. A good example of a query rule is open enrollment. We can create a query rule that states if any of these terms: Benefit, Enroll, Health, Enrollment, Dental, Vision, 401k are used in a search to display the Open Enrollment page at the top of the list as a banner. We can further configure the rule to only be enabled from November 1 – December 31st, our open enrollment period. As we start to configure these rules to help empower our users it is important to see how often they are being used.
There are several tools that your can use out of the box to help see how your SharePoint site is being used.
For more advanced metrics on your files such as the ranking information about items behind the scenes, refer to Waldek’s post here.
Findability + Usability = User Adoption!