Searching The Guardian
Over the course of the last week or so I have been looking at how search works across various different British newspaper websites. Today I am looking at the search service offered online by The Guardian.
Search from The Guardian's homepage is positioned near to the top right-hand corner of the homepage, above the masthead.
Search engine results from The Guardian include the title of an article, the publication origin, the authors name and a date stamp. There is also an abstract for each article accompanied by excerpts which illustrate the keyword that has been searched for. The Guardian search results also highlight within the results the keywords that have been searched for. They are so far the only newspaper within my survey that does this.
Within the abstract or excerpt for the article, the search results use a strange parenthesis icon to indicate where extracts have been taken from different parts of the articles containing the keywords. I felt this rather added to the visual clutter of the search results page, rather than making things clearer.
Similar to the system employed by The Times, there are a series of filters on the left-hand said of the results page. These allow the user to filter their results by section, publication, and time, as well as by author. No other newspaper site search that I have looked at so far used 'author' as a filtering criteria.
I found the relevancy of the results to be good, and coupled with the filtering system it was easy to narrow the search down to articles on a specific topic. The filtering system can also be used as a drill-down browse mechanism when you reset your search to a blank query string.
The Guardian also offers a web search facility via a radio button selection method on the homepage. This is a lightly Guardian branded version of Yahoo!'s web search.
Here is a summary of the features of The Guardian's search.
|The Guardian - feature summary|
|Results per page||10|
|Article excerpt or abstract||Yes - abstract and dynamic excerpts based on search keyword|
|Date stamp (day/month/year)||Yes|
|Time stamp (hours/minutes)||No|
|Article word count||No|
|Navigational or Section information||No|
|Specifies original publication||No|
|Specifies original edition||No|
|Specifies original edition page number||No|
|Results display colour-coded||No|
|Search terms highlighted in results||Yes|
|Relevancy score (%)||No|
|Destination URL displayed||No|
|Sponsored links featured in results||Yes - but offset to the right of results|
|Site offers web search||Yes|
|Default search||Site search|
|RSS feed of search results||No|
|Advanced search options||Yes - but only via filters|
|Search by date-range||Yes - but only via filters|
Next I'll be looking at the search service offered by The Telegraph.