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What is findability?

In his seminal book Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become, Peter Morville coined the term findability, which he defines as:

  1. The quality of being located or navigable.
  2. The degree to which a particular object is easy to discover or locate.
  3. The degree to which a system or environment supports navigation and retrieval.

Morville says in his book you can’t use what you can’t find – so profound that it makes you realise that there is something more important than focusing on usability.

In an age of information overload, being findable on the web – connecting your audience to your website and content – is paramount.

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Finding is arguably at the center of all user experiences.
Louis Rosenfeld, There’s More To “Finding” Than We Thought, ACRLog

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Findability and accessibility

The same techniques used to make content more findable to search engines helps make the content more accessible too. Content in image alt attribute, short for alternative text, and page <title> attribute help search engines know what the page is about. They also follow accessibility guidelines, making the content more accessible, therefore broadening your audience. Proper headings, marked in ascending order of importance, h1 through h6, are not only important places for keywords that search engines index, but they also enhance the readability and scanability of the page; especially visitors using screen readers, which speed hear by skipping through the headings on the page much like visual users scan page content.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Many Web searches start on commercial search engines like Google. SEO – the process of designing, coding and writing websites so that they have a good chance of appearing in the top search results – is very important for a findability strategy. Search–friendly websites benefit both site visitors – enabling them to find content and accomplish their tasks easily and efficiently – and business – having increased traffic, improved communication with clients, and more sales.

More about search engine optimisation, what search engines like