Developing ways to help people find information has always been a popular job; and when the internet arrived search took on a whole new meaning. But one area that has never been popular with users is the ‘advanced search’ page. Enter the ‘Search Matrix’.
On a webpage we are able to create a simple alternative to an advanced search page with up to four variables on the page. So you could have formats in the top row, subjects in the first column, other variables – such as an icon for action-specific information – in each cell and you can even allow your users to enter additional keywords into an ‘add keyword’ field.
This feature is particularly useful where your website caters to a group of users with information needs around a particular discipline; the first column could list the main subjects in the discipline, the columns the format (video, webpage, image, so on) and within the cells flags can be added for region specific information. At Arup, for instance, we have found it to be a popular tool on the websites of our communities of practice.
You can clearly see this in action in the Search Matrix below; clicking on the links will take you to saved searches for content about matrices:
Access a fully fledged demonstration for the subject area of intranet management by heading to the ‘demo’ on the right.
As you can see, the format is highly extensible to multiple rows, columns and in-cell variables; and though intranets and matrices have been used in the two examples on this page the potential for the Search Matrix applies to every discipline that needs its content to be more findable.
Need further help? Please contact Adam Pope.