https://digitalmarketplace.blog.gov.uk/2014/06/27/searching-by-browsing/

Searching by Browsing

Designing search

Katie and I have been testing prototypes for the build of Digital Marketplace for a few months now and over this time we’ve become used to seeing the majority of people using “Search” to explore the catalogue. But in our last session we saw many more people using the “Browse” feature as we encouraged people to think about the specifics of the last thing they bought.

Making browse categories clearer

We’ve found that users who prefer to “Browse” can become confused about their next step once they’re in the category pages. Language is, as ever, important and meaning needs to be clearer.

“I don’t understand why when I click on ‘Compute’ I just get a list of results.”

This buyer was looking for further explanation of what the term meant. We heard similar statements from other users about sub-categories, for instance “Other” and “Unlisted” in Specialist Cloud Services.

Filters don't make sense for everything

We’re also finding that a “one size fits all” approach to filters isn’t appropriate. When buyers are searching for people to support their project it’s not applicable whether they have a data centre in the UK, a free option or Safe Harbor accreditation - people don’t need to be safe harbor accredited and they don’t have data centres. Why is there a filter for “Backup and Emergency Recovery” - who would want to select a service that had no disaster recovery provisioning?

So we know that we need to enable contextual filters: Katie has discussed in a previous post how Digital Marketplace has to be clever enough to know that if we’re searching for either “people” or “technology” then we’re going to need different filtering options.

Over the next sprints, our design and content team are working on improving these terms, as well as building in greater clarity to the process. How much technical detail would be helpful to you when you’re searching? How much technical description do you expect from the Digital Marketplace or would you prefer to use Google to research technologies?

Research is ongoing and we’re keen to hear your thoughts. Sign up and join in.