Improves consumer website experience with on-site search from SLI Systems

Visitors to the website of independent consumer champion Which? (www.which.co.uk) can now find the information they’re looking for more easily with the implementation of ‘Learning Search’ from on-demand site search specialist SLI Systems.

The improved search experience for visitors has already received positive early feedback from its customers and comes as part of a complete overhaul to the site, during which the existing search function came under scrutiny.

“Learning Search means we can now offer site visitors a more intuitive search function, for example, ‘predictive search’, which auto-completes common terms and even suggests queries if the person seems uncertain,” said Steve Pitman, head of digital at Which?

SLI's technology is designed to enhance the end-user experience by continually learning from visitors to the site, which delivers increasingly relevant site search results over time. This means that users can find what they are looking for more quickly.

Using the ‘Merchandising Console’, Which? is free to easily manipulate its search function behind the scenes, based on real results. It can create synonyms for common terms – for example ‘TV’ and ‘telly’ – and landing pages for common queries such as ‘subscription’ or ‘membership’ so that visitors are automatically re-directed to the correct part of the site without any further input.

The new search function also offers visitors to the Which? website ‘grouped results’, including videos and podcasts along with standard pages, so that there is no need to click through several screens to find information on a particular product. In addition, by offering related queries and giving users the option to refine and filter search results, the Which? team plans to make the site even more user friendly.

“In the past if someone searching our site typed in a word or phrase incorrectly, there was a danger that they wouldn’t get any useful results,” explained Pitman. “The nice thing about SLI’s system is that users never come to a dead end.”

As part of the implementation of Learning Search, Which? is conducting an ongoing review of customer satisfaction with the new site. This includes comparing data on visitors’ journeys through the site, and measuring specific types of activity, such as the length of time the average person spends on a particular page.

“Early feedback from our customers has been very positive – with customers using words and phrases like ‘quick, easy and accessible’ and 'very informative and easy to follow’,” said Pitman.

“It’s relatively early days in terms of measuring the success of the new site but, even based on that initial feedback, it’s clear that Learning Search is doing what we want it to do – making it easier for people to find what they’re looking for, and improving their overall experience when they’re on our site,” he concluded.

For more information on Learning Search and SLI Systems, visit www.sli-systems.com.

Published on: 11:05PM on 20th July 2010