BT : Sectioning search
A simple addition transforms search functionality.
BT, the UK’s leading telecoms provider, has a simple toggle on its search tool that allows filtering from the outset.
BT positions its universal search tool at the top of pages, above the primary navigation bar and centrally over the main text panel. The tool consists of a standard word-entry field, a ‘Go’ key and two buttons for ‘Whole site’ and ‘Just this Section’.
The default setting is Whole site, which generates results from across all of btplc.com. Just this Section confines the search to the current primary section (BT Group, Shareholders & investors etc). One of the seven sections, London 2012 (which features the company’s sponsorship of the summer Olympic and Paralympic games), appears to be not covered by the search engine (a search for ‘sporting ambassadors’, a term used in the section, returns seven matches, all from other areas of the site).
BT has done something clever with its universal search that boosts its usefulness greatly, but it isn’t the inclusion of a section filter that in itself does the trick. Such a filter is a feature of the advanced search; the simple but catalytic stroke is to present the option as an alternative to a whole-site search with the initial word-entry field on every page. That transforms the simple universal search into a section-specific tool at the touch of the Just this Section toggle, and the ability thus gained to search within individual sections is a rarity.
The apparent exclusion of the London 2010 section from searchable content is disappointing and will frustrate increasing numbers of visitors as the event draws closer, the more so as it appears fully integrated in the site.http://www.btplc.com
First published on 30 November, 2010