As you may know the Refinement Panels in SharePoint help you refine the search results in a page. They are a great tool because they allow you to customize the refinement categories which can also be categories created by the user. On the fore mentioned subject there is a great set of articles that you can find here.
What I want to talk about in this article is the ‘People Refinement Panel’ which, from my findings, with the help of a more experienced SharePoint developer, is a little bit special. Unfortunately information about this precise particularity of this web part I could not find anywhere on the web, so I though I should share it with you.
The ‘People Refinement Panel’ cannot be customized in any other site type than in a Search Center site – you just cannot, no matter what you put in the refinement XML, it will not be taken into consideration. So in order to use the refinement finesse for people search you will need to create a Search Center site in your site collection and link it to your other pages/sites in the way you need them to communicate from the navigation perspective.
The rules when editing the XML for the refinement still apply; you need to un-select the ‘Use Default Configuration‘ option and make sure you use the correct MappedProperty and Type XML properties.
Hope this information helps and stay tuned for more updates about what we do here.