Introduction to Planning and Configuring Search Navigation in SharePoint 2013

In SharePoint 2013, there are two different modes for the refiner Web Part, search results and faceted navigation. With search results, the refinement data works much like it did with SharePoint Server 2010 with some enhancements. For search results, the refiners, the navigational elements shown on the left navigation, are generated as deep refiners rather than the shallow refiners available in SharePoint 2010. SharePoint 2010 displayed the top 50 results (default setting). Now all refiners are deep refiners out of the complete, rather than the top 50, results. These can be rendered through the display templates.

Faceted Navigation

Faceted navigation, which is also called a faceted search, is a method of locating information based on the facets or attributes of the date, by applying filters. The difference between a faceted navigation and a hierarchical navigation is that the latter is a pre-defined hierarchy, so there is far less flexibility in how navigational elements appear. This works well in a highly structured set of navigational elements, but it lacks flexibility where there may be many attributes or facets to a single item. In SharePoint 2013, faceted navigation uses a term set from the term store to filter the displayed data, in much the same way that term sets can be used for Document Library navigation. With each term that you select, there are managed properties that you define should be refiners with that term. To do this, you must configure the managed property as refinable. To use this approach, you create refiners for your managed property. For example, if you have a managed property of Car, you may add refiners of Manufacturer and Color, so that these appear as query navigational refiners when a user clicks on Car. The user can then select the Manufacturer or Color as their next facet of the navigation.

Configuring faceted navigation

There are several steps to configuring your environment for faceted navigation. The procedure is as follows:
  1. The managed property must be enabled as a refiner in Central Administration by the search service administrator. There must then be a full crawl of the content source.
  2. Site collection administrators can configure refiners after they have mapped the appropriate crawled property to the refinable managed property.
  3. The site collection administrator can then enable a term set for faceted navigation. This is completed in the Term Store management option of Site Administration.
  4. From the same page, on the Faceted Navigation tab, the site collection administrator can add refiners to all terms in the term set or to individual terms in the term set.

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