Gone But Not Forgotten

Hello, you've landed on DATA eh? - Open Data Toronto's original blog space for data discussions. This is not an active blog at the moment but legacy posts are still here. Have a read ... you can still provide comments.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Better Search (part 2)

NOTE: This is content from the web re:Brand posts going back to November 2010. We have kept the re:Brand posts as a legacy archive but, on a go forward basis as of October, 2011, the new DATA eh? content takes over this space.

Continuing on from "Better Search!!!" (part 1) - here are the "other" aspects we are working up to improve toronto.ca global search. D'ya like? Please comment ...

View and compare these ideas to our current search box e.g. http://www.toronto.ca/city_hall/index.htm

current version

Proposed changes:

Make Search box more Prominent:

  • Wider and bigger Search box in the Header, making it hard to miss on a page.

  • Search button should say “Search” instead of current “GO” (looks like 60 right now).

  • new concept

  • Bigger font for keywords that are being entered by user in the Search box, so people with poor vision see what they are typing and don’t get wrong results or no results because of that.

  • Display links.

  • Show Additional Help Links:

    It’s logical for “Search Tips” and “Advanced Search” links to be nearby Search box.Those 2 links are hard to find on current interface.

    current search

    Did you know that “Advanced Search” link is located beside Search box on the current website? It’s hidden. Words “Advanced Search” appear only when you hover over label “Search”.

    Search Tips” link becomes visible only after you conduct search and land on the Search Results page.

    Provide Search Suggestions:

  • Auto-complete feature could help the user with suggestions of possible searches, as soon as they start typing keywords into the search box. This feature could be disabled by clicking on a link at the bottom right corner of the drop-down menu.

  • To activate this feature, user would have to click on the “Show Suggestions” link in the bottom right corner of the drop-down menu.

  • Additionally, we’ll give user an option (2 radio buttons) to perform search within existing list of results or start a completely new search.

  • Remember User Choices:

  • Any changes that user will make to the Search settings will be remembered, at a minimum, for the duration of their visit through Session Cookies.

  • Let us know your thoughts on search. In case you missed the link at the start of this post, our first post on search is available here so you can have the full scope discussion.

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    Danyl Sobolev said...

    This is approach to searching is definitely an improvement. One question though, what exactly is advanced search?

    Also I'm getting an error when I try to use my OpenID it says"Your request could not be processed. Please try again." Any help would be appreciated.

    Keith from the TO web re:Brand team said...

    Hi Danyl and thanks for stopping by. Not sure what is happening on the OpenID front. You should be able to use your usual method to authenticate and comment. I'll look into that with a few folks into the work week.

    Advanced Search is generally provided to give more options in searching - you can make or select choices to help the program refine what it is searching to find. Often that will get more specific or more narrowed results for you.

    Anonymous said...

    Testing testing OpenID entry for a comment by Keith - works for me using my Blogger account. I also tried Google and myspace. Anyone have thoughts why Danyl above may have received an error message?

    Anonymous said...

    never re: the OpenID issues, I think I got it to work.

    on the topic of the Advanced search do you have any schreenshots of the way that that will function. There's a great article on boxesandshadows.com called "Advancing Advanced Search" (http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/advancing-advanced). It provides some really good functionality queues.


    Keith from the TO web re:Brand team said...

    It may have been a typo or upper/lowercase issue when you entered your OpenID - anyway, I'll speak to our UI people about some more screen captures of what we are thinking about doing.

    We're setting up paper models before going to coding and will bring some working items forward to a new labs area we hope to launch soon. That way users can check out some of the ideas before we totally solidify all. So we wil have working items definitely.

    Keith from the TO web re:Brand team said...

    Oh and forgot to say thanks for the url on boxesandarrows. Helpful. :0)