When IU Health approached us about rebuilding their careers site, we knew a highly functional search would be key to getting users the info they needed quickly. To ensure users’ needs were being met, we knew that custom search functionality would enhance user experience. So where did we start? When tasked with a custom search build, you need a few key ingredients: The focal point of the search: There is usually one main search criterion that drives custom search. Typically, it’s the keyword search, where a person can enter a search value and expect related results based on that value.Secondary filters: These filters can be associated with an array of different criteria, such as location, sort order (alphabetical or date), sizes, colors and the like. With secondary filters, the idea is to create the ability for a person to find their desired results within a few seconds of applying filters.Efficiency: A custom search must meet all criteria passed and still be able to function at a fairly rapid pace. For IU Health, we used this formula to prioritize the information and functionality most relevant to our target audience. The IU Health Careers Search Module The careers search module needed to be simple yet powerful, driving users to results relevant to their job category and location. Since IU Health had a vast amount of job categories, we narrowed the search by category first. After a category was selected, the user, and hopefully future employee, was able to search by a keyword and/or a zip code. Once the user clicked on the "Search Careers" button, they were taken to the search results page showing the desired jobs within the category they selected and associated with the keyword and zip code if entered. Once they narrowed initial results, we knew some users would want to filter further, so we further optimized the customization. IU Health Careers Search Results Filter Section Since we were adding several layers of filtering, we wanted to ensure the users always knew where they were. We included the filters they’d already selected in the search module as well as a field for further refining the search.Notice that since keyword and zip code were one of the three main focal points of the search, they are first in the order of the search to help delegate the important drivers for the desired results. We also auto-populated these fields to reduce users’ inputs, but we gave them the option to update so they wouldn’t need to move back to the previous page. Since category is a deciding factor initially to help "group" the results, it's not necessarily a major filter at this point, so we moved it farther down the list. While prioritized, all search filters are important aspects in helping users find the dream job they are searching for. The filters were carefully thought out in collaboration with IU Health to make the search painless for the customer. IU Health Search Efficiency As I mentioned above, not only is criteria important, but efficiency is a big part of the custom search formula. Ensuring efficiency falls solely on the developer. Keeping the amount of time needed to a minimum for a user to find the most relevant information is key in building great user experiences with search. A couple things can immediately help with keeping search efficient: Caching the search results Caching is a way to remember previous search results based on the previous criteria entered without having to process the information all over again. This can cut down on a user’s time investment depending on the amount of results from their previous search. Remembering the previous criteria when a customer ventures to another page If a customer decides to look up information elsewhere on the page after they have already conducted a search, we want to keep the relative criteria they searched for in memory so that when they revisit the search page it's still showing the desired criteria selected. Limiting the amount of information to output By outputting only the critical information for each result, we can decrease the amount of information loaded on each page. Lessening the total information helps render the results faster. For IU Health, we limited the content in the search results page to job title and key job information, such as shift type, location and facility.We were able to provide the main information a user needs to immediately know if a job is applicable to their needs. Once the customer clicked on a job, they were directed to a page with all the details associated with it. The Takeaway The main benefit of custom search is improving a user’s experience. By leveraging information about your users' needs, you can easily narrow their options and inputs so they can easily find exactly what they are looking for within seconds! By utilizing the three main points—focal point, primary filters and efficiency—you can drastically increase your traffic and keep continuous customers happy, knowing they are getting exactly what they came for.

Development

How a Custom Search Can Improve Your Customer Experience


June 14, 2016

When IU Health approached us about rebuilding their careers site, we knew a highly functional search would be key to getting users the info they needed quickly. To ensure users’ needs were being met, we knew that custom search functionality would enhance user experience.

So where did we start?

When tasked with a custom search build, you need a few key ingredients:

  1. The focal point of the search: There is usually one main search criterion that drives custom search. Typically, it’s the keyword search, where a person can enter a search value and expect related results based on that value.
  2. Secondary filters: These filters can be associated with an array of different criteria, such as location, sort order (alphabetical or date), sizes, colors and the like. With secondary filters, the idea is to create the ability for a person to find their desired results within a few seconds of applying filters.
  3. Efficiency: A custom search must meet all criteria passed and still be able to function at a fairly rapid pace.

For IU Health, we used this formula to prioritize the information and functionality most relevant to our target audience.

The IU Health Careers Search Module

The careers search module needed to be simple yet powerful, driving users to results relevant to their job category and location.

IU Health Careers – Search Module
IU Health Careers – Search Module

Since IU Health had a vast amount of job categories, we narrowed the search by category first.

After a category was selected, the user, and hopefully future employee, was able to search by a keyword and/or a zip code.

Once the user clicked on the "Search Careers" button, they were taken to the search results page showing the desired jobs within the category they selected and associated with the keyword and zip code if entered.

Once they narrowed initial results, we knew some users would want to filter further, so we further optimized the customization.

IU Health Careers Search Results Filter Section

Since we were adding several layers of filtering, we wanted to ensure the users always knew where they were.

We included the filters they’d already selected in the search module as well as a field for further refining the search.

IU Health Careers – Search Criteria Labels
IU Health Careers – Search Criteria Labels
IU Health Careers – Search Filters
IU Health Careers – Search Filters

Notice that since keyword and zip code were one of the three main focal points of the search, they are first in the order of the search to help delegate the important drivers for the desired results. We also auto-populated these fields to reduce users’ inputs, but we gave them the option to update so they wouldn’t need to move back to the previous page.

Since category is a deciding factor initially to help "group" the results, it's not necessarily a major filter at this point, so we moved it farther down the list.

While prioritized, all search filters are important aspects in helping users find the dream job they are searching for. The filters were carefully thought out in collaboration with IU Health to make the search painless for the customer.

IU Health Search Efficiency

As I mentioned above, not only is criteria important, but efficiency is a big part of the custom search formula.

Ensuring efficiency falls solely on the developer. Keeping the amount of time needed to a minimum for a user to find the most relevant information is key in building great user experiences with search.

A couple things can immediately help with keeping search efficient:

Caching the search results

Caching is a way to remember previous search results based on the previous criteria entered without having to process the information all over again.

This can cut down on a user’s time investment depending on the amount of results from their previous search.

Remembering the previous criteria when a customer ventures to another page

If a customer decides to look up information elsewhere on the page after they have already conducted a search, we want to keep the relative criteria they searched for in memory so that when they revisit the search page it's still showing the desired criteria selected.

Limiting the amount of information to output

By outputting only the critical information for each result, we can decrease the amount of information loaded on each page. Lessening the total information helps render the results faster.

For IU Health, we limited the content in the search results page to job title and key job information, such as shift type, location and facility.

IU Health Careers – Search Results
IU Health Careers – Search Results

We were able to provide the main information a user needs to immediately know if a job is applicable to their needs.

Once the customer clicked on a job, they were directed to a page with all the details associated with it.

The Takeaway

The main benefit of custom search is improving a user’s experience. By leveraging information about your users' needs, you can easily narrow their options and inputs so they can easily find exactly what they are looking for within seconds!

By utilizing the three main points—focal point, primary filters and efficiency—you can drastically increase your traffic and keep continuous customers happy, knowing they are getting exactly what they came for.