Searching has just gotten easier. Recently Microsoft issued an update to SharePoint that permits search-based navigation capable from on-premises versions of SharePoint to intranets based on SharePoint Online (Microsoft’s cloud-based business collaboration platform). This feature was previously only available on SharePoint Server 2013.
Microsoft has coined this the Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part (TRPWP) and follows on the heels of the March release of a group cache function for SharePoint’s Content Search Web Part (CSWP)—a function that speeds up page loading times.
CSWP works by generating query-based pages for users while they browse any site connected to SharePoint. Previously, they would be given static content. Now, by configuring queries, users can tailor the number of items shown in the CSWP, as well as what content they get. This means that a user can configure a query to show a desired number of items from a particular list or a desired number of recent documents the user created.
Long-time SharePoint users will find TRPWP familiar as it is similar to the Refinement Web Part (RWP)—they both work to filter the content on any given page. They differ in two ways, however, in that TRPWP filters into categories from the site’s navigation and that it is capable of displaying category-specific editorial content.
TRPWP can also be used to display navigational aids—features that can help users find the specific information that they are looking for. This can range from helping companies display (and research) their rivals to users researching their internal IT ordering system.
Currently, users are only able to use TRPWP on sites that are make use of managed navigation and/or category pages.
Another feature of TRPWP is called faceted navigation. Users can apply faceted navigation to create category-specific filters that will narrow down the content displayed. Faceted navigation will be familiar to Web shoppers because it is the same concept for checking off filters (such as brand and color).
Faceted navigation will help to ease the burden put on site maintainers—especially when it comes to content management. This is because even though there are numerous filters (shown across different categories) content managers are not required to create and maintain a unique page for each category.
Faceted navigation also works solely with sites with managed navigation and category pages.