We have a standard search results page with filters and sorting options. This is frequently customised for specific intranets according to their requirements, and often a dedicated person-finder tool is included elsewhere in the intranet, although people continue to feature in the main search results.
We begin by looking not at how users will find, but what will they be looking for. This is one of the insights we hope to glean from the user research and Information Architecture card sorting.
In spite of all this effort with site architecture an intuitive and accurate search function is vital. As might be expected, SMLWRLD provides a full-text search capability – including the option to search within the documents uploaded to the site. But users don’t often know exactly what they are searching for or how best to find it, so the search facility can provide a number of tools to help users:
- Type-ahead – as the user enters their search term, the search box expands to show all searches using similar search terms in order of popularity.
- Synonyms/Did you mean – to cope with common misspelling or to help ‘translate’ jargon the system can present the user with synonyms where no results were returned.
- Filtering of results – results can be filtered by ‘type’ (article, policy, form etc) or other meta-data groupings to allow users to narrow the results
- Ordering – besides relevancy, results can be ordered by popularity or ‘trending’ (a combination of popularity and recency)
Finally, administrators can improve search performance by reviewing search reports to identify common search terms (this helps with content strategy) and results that return few or no results (helping with content strategy and/or suggesting updates to the synonym list).
Screenshots showing much of this functionality from the East London Foundation Trust is shown below.
Misspelling and suggested correction example:
When a search term is particularly well aligned with a type of result, these results are highlighted at the top of the page. In the below example, you can see that three users have been highlighted.
As well as standard search results, which are taken from all content (articles, profiles, teams, communities etc). Users can opt to expand any search to include text within documents. This allows the contents of any uploaded documents to be fully searchable from the main search.