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What if we gave you a different search experience?

We're trying something a little bit different, changing the way you can find articles from our Knowledge Base before you file a support request. But before we tell you what we're doing, let us explain why…

We Learn

We do everything we can to make your search experience a positive one, assessing all the different data points we can access. Here's some of what we have learned:

  • Most of you spend a lot of time searching for answers online before requesting help – upwards of an hour on Google, kb.vmware.com and the Communities.
  • About half of you call in rather than use our web-based self-service portal to report an issue.
  • On our existing File a Technical Service Request Page, ~85% of you don't use the embedded Search bar, but…
  • Of the ~15% of you who do, most of you find some kind of answer.
  • Most of the cases you do report (~60% to ~80%, depending on the product) we've solved before and captured it in an article.

We've therefore come to some assumptions:

  1. If you're not searching on this page, its because you already sought help elsewhere.
  2. Despite your exhaustive searching, you're not finding the article that you need.

We Adjust

What if we gave you a different search experience?

We've been tagging our articles following a fairly specific strategy to isolate the product, intent, result and/or problem (some would call it a hybrid folksonomy). Our Knowledge Champions have been populating these tags using Bookmarks in the Communities – you can browse all of the tags and bookmarks in the communities, and click on the 'kb' tag to see ours.

Using the Communities' inherent understanding of tags (not to mention all the great social features that get tied in on the Communities side), we've developed a way of guiding you through a search using tag-cloud-driven interface. The idea is that with a few selections, you can quickly isolate the section of our content most relevant to you.

New File SR page

If you decide to use the tag cloud, each selection (and subsequent selection) refines the cloud and the results.

Of course, you can always go the traditional route, and type in your query – our auto-complete will pipe up with suggestions.

The new page is at http://www.vmware.com/srfile/

We Listen

Although it will soon replace the page you already know well, we wanted to give you a sneak peek here, and get some of your feedback about it in our dedicated Communities space.

We want to hear from you, so please check out the new interface and let us know what you like or what you would change, what you hope we do more of, and what you hope we throw out! We can't claim we'll be able to implement all of your suggestions, but we will consider every one, and determine how well in fits into our development timeline.