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Back to March 2012 Newsletter

ITS Website Update

by Mike Sprague

Expected Documents Not Found in Search
Some users mentioned that searches were not finding the expected documents.  In the cases we examined, this was due to the terms being used in the search by our users not being in the actual document.  We remedied this by providing a method for ITS document authors to provide synonyms within the documents, which they have done and it is working well. 

Search Goes to Old Search
After the initial page of search results, navigating to page two would bring you into the previous view of search results.  Users found this confusing and not desirable.  We altered the search functionality to stay in the new design when paging through results.

Home Button vs Contact Button
Users reported that the "Home" button in the ITS banner is confusing because it switches between "Contact ITS" and "Home" depending on what page you are on.  We will be changing this to always say "Home", and moving the contact button to replace the feedback button on the home page.  This is pending some additional conversations with our users.

Recommended Links (Start Pages)
Multiple users mentioned that the "start pages" we were providing were getting ignored because they looked like advertisements.  We had them in a "Recommended Links" box with a border and shading.  While we thought this would draw attention to them, it had the opposite effect.  People were ignoring them and going straight to the first result in the search area.   So, instead of having a separate box, our recommended links now show as the first item in the search results.   Example

Titles in Search Results
Many of the titles in the search results were getting cut off due to Google's limit on characters in a page title.  We re-arranged some of the words in the titles to move the document title to the front (Instead of Hamilton College - Resource Center - Title).  We did this across the entire Hamilton site, which will help us in search engine optimization by getting more of our keywords indexed the title cuts off on Google.

As always, we welcome your feedback (via the feedback button on the ITS home page, comment on our documents, or send us an e-mail) on ways we can improve the site in order to help you quickly find the information you need.  Look for face-to-face opportunities to share your feedback after Spring Break.