Improving search functionality for mygov.scot
Blog by Jennifer I’anson, Product Manager, Digital Directorate.
The mygov.scot development team and Design System team (Digital Publishing) have been working on implementing and integrating a new search product on https://mygov.scot. The product we have chosen is Squiz Funnelback and this replaces the basic search capability within our content management system (CMS).
On the 2nd of February we completed phase 1 of our search project and switched mygov.scot over to using Funnelback search.
Squiz Funnelback search and the default search included with our CMS are two different enterprise search platforms that have their own unique strengths and capabilities, suiting different uses. Squiz Funnelback search offers several features and capabilities that were not available with the default search solution we had before, such as:
- Advanced search functionality: Squiz Funnelback provides advanced search capabilities that enable users to perform complex queries using Boolean operators, wildcard searches, and proximity searches.
- Faceted navigation: Squiz Funnelback allows users to refine search results using facets or filters based on specific criteria such as content type, date, author, or location.
- Content curation: Squiz Funnelback enables content curation by allowing users to promote or demote specific search results based on relevance or importance.
- Content cleaning: Squiz Funnelback provides comprehensive analytics and reporting on content containing misspellings or terms not in the content style guide.
- Personalisation: Squiz Funnelback can also provide personalised search results based on user preferences, behaviour, and history but this is a feature that we have not opted to use.
Improved search user experience
Duncan MacGruer in our performance team analysed and reported on how much better Funnelback results are on mygov.scot than our previous search tool. He ran the top 120 search terms (which received about half of the volume of all searches on mygov.scot over the previous six months) and compared them to what the best result ‘should’ be.
- The average best result has moved from result 6 to result 2.
- Formerly, 50% of searches did not have the best result at position one; this has dropped to only 20%.
- Before, 1 in 4 searches did not have the best result in the top five – that is now just 1 in 20.
Looking beyond the percentages, Duncan calculated what the change would mean based on the site’s current search volume: the (soon to be trademarked) “Fewer Annoyed Users” metric was created to show that over a year the new search tool will lead to 200k fewer users seeing pages where the best result is not at the top. We’re happy with that – that’s 200k user journeys with less friction and an easier path to any information, service or benefit they are looking for.
Maintenance and governance of Funnelback search
The current plan is for the Digital Publishing performance team to manage the tuning and maintenance of search. Enquires and specific requests about the search should be directed to the firstname.lastname@example.org mailbox and one of the team will get back to you.
Further phases of this project are planned and the next phase – phase 2 will be to implement Funnelback search on https://gov.scot, given the volume of content on gov.scot this implementation will offer search filtering options, as well as the features mentioned above. We expect Funnelback to be implemented on gov.scot by the summer.