Recommended Changes to Search Features of Clerk and Technology Support Web Site

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jdlessley
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Recommended Changes to Search Features of Clerk and Technology Support Web Site

Postby jdlessley » Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:38 pm

I have a recommendation to change the search features on the Clerk and Technology Support Web Site (tech site). I would like to see the search feature for the entire tech site be placed as the first item in the right column just above the "TOP TROUBLESHOOTING ARTICLES". The implementation of the search feature should include the title "SEARCH CLERK AND TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT", a search text box below the title, a drop-down list box of site areas just below the search text box, and the high contrast "Search" button below that. I would then move the search troubleshooting articles search feature to just below the top troubleshooting articles bullet list. The current search clerk and technology support search feature should remain in the table of contents menu in the left column for redundancy.

The following is the background and reasoning.

There are currently four search features on the main page of the tech site. The first is the search associated with lds.org found in the tool bar found at the top of the page. The second is the "SEARCH TROUBLESHOOTING ARTICLES" found in the right column. The third is the "Search Clerk and Technlolgy Support" found in the left column in the table of contents for the site as the last item. The fourth is the last information topic in the center column titled "Search Troubleshooting Articles". The two search troubleshooting articles search features are a functional subset of the overall search clerk and technology support.

Having four search features on the same page can be disconcerting to someone new or an infrequent user of the search features on the page. I understand why the toolbar search for the entire lds.org site is there. Having it there does, however, cause some false starts when attempting to do a search for the tech site simply because it just says "Search". Only after clicking that function; exposing the search text box; and then opening the drop-down list box with lds.org areas to search does one realize that a search of the tech site from that search feature cannot be done. Even after seven months of using the tech site I still find myself thinking about going to that search feature to do searches on the Tech site. I don't think there is anything I can recommend regarding that issue.

The "SEARCH TROUBLESHOOTING ARTICLES" search feature does take advantage of the all caps, large font, uncluttered page placement and a high contrast "Search" button to grab attention. The difficulty comes when a user realizes that if the search to be performed is not necessarily to be accomplished in the troubleshooting articles that a visual scan of the page must be done to hopefully find yet the third search feature. The lds.org search feature is found next (second) because of it's placement at the top of the page which is one of the more common locations for search features on many web sites.

I do not know how many times I went to do a search during the first few months of using the site that I quite literally did not see the menu item "Search Clerk and Technology Support". And in my haste to find information left the site to look elsewhere for information. Of course I would eventually return to the site and after a slower more methodical scan finally realize which search feature should be used.

To me placing the tech site search feature in the top right column is a matter of psychological ergonomics. When I open the tech page the first thing that catches my attention is the dark letters on white background title "Clerk and Technology Support". The next is the graphic of the network appliance and the title next to it. The third is the graphic of the suited man and the title next to him. The fourth is the search troubleshooting articles search feature in the third column. The absolute last thing that catches my attention is the table of contents menu list in the left column.

When I am going to do a search for information my first stop on the page that has anything to do with search is the search troubleshooting articles search feature. If the search clerk and technology support search feature was in the top of the right column it would be the first and I would not waste a lot of time scanning or even miss the table of contents menu item.

My recommendation is intended to make the use of the web site more efficient and friendly, especially to the first time user. I know that veterans of the site may have become accustomed to the layout and can find information quickly because of their familiarity with its nuances and structure.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

jdlessley
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Search Clerk and Technology Support Feature Needs Update

Postby jdlessley » Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:50 pm

When the 'Search Clerk and Technology Support' feature is used the drop down list of areas to search has not been kept up to date with the changes that have occured in the structure of the site. For example the first area to search is titled "All of Stake Technology Specialist". The list also should include the areas in the same order as the table of contents menu for correlation.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:50 am

jdlessley wrote:I understand why the toolbar search for the entire lds.org site is there. Having it there does, however, cause some false starts when attempting to do a search for the tech site simply because it just says "Search". Only after clicking that function; exposing the search text box; and then opening the drop-down list box with lds.org areas to search does one realize that a search of the tech site from that search feature cannot be done. Even after seven months of using the tech site I still find myself thinking about going to that search feature to do searches on the Tech site. I don't think there is anything I can recommend regarding that issue.


Good suggestions all around, and they address many issues that have concerned me. Thanks for articulating them so well.

I may be radical on one point, but I question the wisdom of having the lds.org search feature at the prominent position at the top of clerk.lds.org. Certainly I understand that there is an attempt to make clerk.lds.org feel like part of lds.org, with its consistent look includiing top level menu.

But regarding searching, here is the key point: the main search of lds.org will never find anything located on clerk.lds.org. Apparently the index for the clerk.lds.org area is not included in the master index for searching. Although the "Serving in the Church" heading is part of the Clerk and Technology Support home page, the fact is that the main lds.org search will find pages in the real Serving in the Church pages, but clerk.lds.org is not really part of lds.org from a search perspective.

So I say, either make clerk.lds.org part of lds.org by allowing its pages to be found in an lds.org search, or stop trying to maintain an illusion of integration and let clerk.lds.org be a site unto itself, with its own search feature in the obvious prominent position.

jdlessley
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Location: USA, TX

Postby jdlessley » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:24 am

Thanks Alan. I was trying to figure out how to put it. You hit it on the head.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?


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