When your institution’s website visitors can quickly and easily find what they are looking for, they are more likely to stay on your site and feel good about their experience. A good search tool should work fast and search everything, including your various file formats (even PDFs) and links. To provide a friendly user experience, a search tool should offer suggested words or phrases, catch misspellings and guide the visitor through searches where content is not found.
From the web management end, institutions should have control over the look and feel of their search tool, what gets featured, and which file types get included. It’s also important to have access to useful reports, like up-to-date summaries of the queries taking place on your website. Last, you want a tool that is flexible enough to quickly adjust search capabilities to satisfy user needs.
Erin SupinkaErin is social media manager at Dartmouth College and contributing editor of the Higher Ed Live Blog. Erin holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Rochester Institute of Technology. Connect with Erin on twitter, @erinsupinka.
Nathan is director of web development services at Utah Valley University. He is a web solutions advocate specializing in helping educational institutions build effective and productive web solutions. Since 1993, Nathan has assisted many businesses and educational institutions in creating their web systems. As technologies evolve, Nathan works with the UVU community to be a driving force in helping clients move in the right direction.