When organizing content, document property tags have several advantages over the traditional folder structure. While both can be effective at categorizing content, leveraging filters and search removes several limitations associated with nested folders.
Property filters allow you to see content along with the categorization
Using nested folders to categorize content can get complex quickly. Finding your way through multiple levels of a folder hierarchy is challenging since it is difficult to see the relationship between the folders and the content contained within them. When navigating folders, often the only context you see is more folders. Each nested folder compounds this problem by delaying the time to see content.
Filtering based on properties allows you to see what content is available as you apply each new filter. Each newly applied filter gives you immediate feedback on the impact of the filter by showing the applicable content in real time.
Properties allow you to organize content by more than one category
Sometimes content needs to be classified by more than one category, forcing you to make critical decisions when storing your content. This is extremely challenging when using folders since there is a one-to-one relationship between a folder and a file. The decisions you make storing the content may not be intuitive to folks as they search for information.
To illustrate this problem, imagine Doc Brown attempting to get Marty McFly back to the year 1985. Being a meticulous scientist, Doc has well-organized documentation. His challenge is to properly connect a sky hook to the flux capacitor to deliver power at just the right time. As Doc traverses the file system (pictured) for Sky Hook information, you can see documentation on sky hooks appears in multiple folders. It’s very easy for Doc to choose the wrong folder and be forced to back out and try again.
With property tags, Doc could tag his content with “Sky Hook”, “Specifications”, and “Power Generation”, ensuring there are no wrong turns when it’s time to find the information.
Your employees prefer to search and filter
Finally, property filters reinforce a preferred, learned behavior. Your employees already use property filters in consumer applications and e-commerce sites. It’s intuitive for your employees to search for a term, then filter on category, price, or rating. Equipping your employees with these tools to access critical knowledge is a powerful way to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of each employee.
By now, you might be saying, “Great, I get it. Acadia has had properties and filters since day 1, what does this have to do with version 7.5?”
Funny you should ask. We’ve made the filters more powerful by making them aware of the current context and only displaying filters that would impact the current view.
How do they work?
I’ll use the following images to demonstrate how the new filters will work. First, we’ll look at a system with two collections; “All Staff”, with 198 documents, and “HR Restricted” with 2 documents.
With no collection filter applied, you can see there are 5 document types, with various numbers of documents of each type.
Next, we’ll apply the collection filter to limit our documents list to the 2 documents in the “HR Restricted” collection.
Now when we expand the “Document Type” property, I can only filter on the 2 available document types within the “HR Restricted” collection.
By limiting the list of available “Document Type” filters to only those available in the current view, we’ve made it faster and easier to zero in on exactly what you’re searching for. This is critical when you’re searching through a large library of content with many available properties.
Reactive filters is a feature we’ve been planning for quite some time, and it was exciting to change such a fundamental part of Acadia for this release. Give the new filters a try when you log in June 15th, we want to hear your feedback. We think the new, reactive filters will improve the effectiveness of your properties and make your employees’ search for knowledge more efficient.