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We’ve changed our website search feature to make it easier and faster to find content.

During core business workshops we held in 2017, we heard from people loud and clear that they didn’t like the website’s search feature. Therefore, we knew that we would have improved research at the heart of the project.

In 2020, our older search engine had over 840,000 page views, while our new one had over 365,000 page views. This makes those pages the third and sixth most popular pages respectively. External search engines recorded over 2.7 million visits to our site during 2020. There are many ongoing searches for content on our website.

Degree course pages were the first section launched on the new platform in July 2019 and our new website search engine has since been implemented to allow for the search of new structured content which has been migrated.

As Danny mentioned in his latest blog post, Addressing Corporate Policies and Information on the University website

Don’t make me think

The information architecture of traditional organizational websites often forces users to navigate and understand the organizational hierarchy to access crucial information such as policies. They unknowingly make it difficult for users by posting siled information across the website.

Information gathering

Improving how users find this content is part of our challenge. Another is to make it easier to recognize and understand the content when they encounter it.

Research form of the contents of the policies on the new University website
Look in the tab for a privacy policy
Look in the tab for a privacy policy

When you use search on the new website, you will be looking for structured content that is filterable and tagged. For example, the two search tabs above are for a privacy policy and privacy statement.

You will be able to filter the search results by content type. For example, if you were looking for a course, select Course from the filter options.

The options available for filtering are:

  • Announcement
  • Company information (such as policies)
  • Course
  • Ease
  • Group
  • Guide
  • Position
  • Module
  • Person
  • Project
  • History
  • Subject

There are still a number of sections on our old website, which have yet to be migrated, and we have created pointers to which ones are searchable. We looked at the top 500 searches in 2020 evaluating old sections that needed guidance. The first five hundred searches had more than one hundred searches per year. This ensured that we covered the majority of ongoing research. For example, scholarships.

Scholarship search form
Scholarship search form

By using structured content types and having a search engine index them, this ensures that the new search is a dramatic improvement over the old one.

However, we’re constantly iterating and improving the search, but if there’s anything you can’t find, please let us know.

Happy searching.