Guided Navigation has been the foundation, the rock upon which Endeca (now Oracle Endeca Information Discovery) has based its entire value proposition for the past decade. As a result, it has been the one area of the product that has seen the least amount of change. With the release of Oracle Endeca Information Discovery (OEID) v3.0, Guided Navigation has gotten not an overhaul, but certainly a facelift for the first time that we can recall, making this an exciting time to be on the cutting edge with this software.
When we talk about the facelift, it helps to take a quick step back and understand what Guided Navigation is all about. If you needed the 140-character synopsis (i.e. the new “elevator speech”), you’d say Guided Navigation is “allowing the user to refine their working data set using its intrinsic attributes” (hope that’s less than 140 characters). Notice that we make no mention of typing or taxonomies, it’s about the data. However, if you’ve ever built an application in previous versions of OEID, you’ll notice that you have Range Filters AND Guided Navigation components available. Shouldn’t they be the same thing since they serve the same purpose and behave in the exact same way? Well, now they are:
What you see above is the new Guided Navigation configuration screen. Leaving aside the visual improvements, such as a cleaner design, rounded corners, you’ll notice the attribute-level configuration that is now available. Not only can a power user pick and choose the attributes to display (as previously discussed), they can also choose how an attribute is displayed. In the capture above you can see that, for numeric/date attributes, the option to configure an attribute as a “List of Values” or a “Range Filter” is offered. Implicit in this capability is that the Range Filter component no longer exists and is now built into Guided Navigation! This really drives home the improvements that have been made around the concept of Guided Navigation by the Oracle Endeca Engineering team and, especially, the User Experience guys. The raison d’etre of Guided Navigation is to allow users to explore their data, regardless of format or source.
Digging even deeper into the configuration (see above), there is a wealth of additional configurability to help your users explore their data. It’s truly a huge leap forward and I wouldn’t be surprised to see additional improvements (thinking a “Preview” function similar to what you get in the Chart) coming down the road in future releases.
The final result is an extremely compelling data discovery experience that has knowledge of data content and capabilities and uses this knowledge to enable and guide the user, rather than limit them.
And it looks really nice too.