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Findability Is King

December 2, 2010

Google and Microsoft aren’t the only ones trying to improve the art of search. At BetterLesson, we’re constantly thinking of ways you can find what you need, whether you’re teaching a lesson tomorrow or a unit next year. Our newest search feature integrates keyword searching with browsing so that you can use our subject taxonomy to filter your keyword search.

Previously, we treated keyword search and browsing separately.  If you typed in “algebra” to the top search box, you would get all relevant results in your search results, mostly but not exclusively Math results. If you then clicked on “Math” on our left sidebar taxonomy, your search would start over — i.e. you would lose your “algebra” keyword search results and be starting afresh a new browse search session in the vast world of “Math.”

After hearing from you that you expected our subject taxonomy to behave as filterable search facets for a keyword search, we made the change.  Now, once you start a keyword search, our subjects on the left sidebar will act as filters for your keyword search.

Let’s look at an example.  

If you are a math teacher searching the site for resources on “Number Sense and Operations,” you could start out by simply exploring the site. Clicking the “Resources” tab on the home page returns 5,156 resources for this category under Math:

Screen_shot_2010-12-01_at_11

But let’s say you wanted to search for algebra-specific resources within “Number Sense and Operations.” Enter the keyword “algebra” in the main search field on the home page:

Screen_shot_2010-12-01_at_11

This query returns 6,647 resources and preserves the term “algebra” in the new search field. Now, when you select “Number Sense and Operations” from the Math subject category, you get back 1,519 resources. This means that about 30 percent of all “Number Sense and Operations” resources includes the keyword “algebra.” Notice too that select subcategories within “Number Sense and Operations” also include resources related to algebra. Previously, by clicking into “Number Sense and Operations”, you’d lose the keyword “algebra” and have to re-enter it in order to narrow down your search.

Screen_shot_2010-12-01_at_11

If you want to clear the serach field altogether, you don’t need to return to the home page. Just click “Start new search,” located to the immediate left of the search field. Algebra will disappear, and you’ll get back the original 5,156 results from our initial search for “Number Sense and Operations” resources.

We hope that by preserving your initial search term, you’re able to more quickly and efficiently find what you need. Let us know what you think of the new feature and keep the feedback coming through the site, via Twitter, or by emailing us at feedback@betterlesson.org.

 

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