Barclays : Browsing aid
Search summary misses helpful guideline
Barclays, a UK-based banking group, provides an advanced search option that helps users judge the relevance of results to their enquiry.
Barclays has a standard search field at top right of pages that generates an initial set of matches on a Search results page. Users are there presented with sets of filters for refining the list of results. Among these is Summary Information, a slide control that can be set at from one to five ‘summary lines’ and determines the amount of summary information shown beneath the headline, date and section that head each result.
The number of lines shown refers not directly to the results on the page, however, but to those of the corresponding content in the site. This can include sub-headings and picture captions but the line breaks in the source material are not reflected in the search results summary, which simply runs the original lines in one continuous quote.
Barclays’ advanced search options already go a long way to helping enquirers judge the relevance of results to their needs by providing sets of category, date and document type filters to go with the identification of the source section and date in the initial list of matches. Nevertheless, in adding a qualitative element, the summary lines slide control is more than just the cherry on the bun – or would be if its effects were more in line with the expectations created.
Users are more likely to assume that the line count refers to the number shown in the results display than in the source material – and may go on to assume the slide is broken when it appears not to correspond with or have any effect on the length of a result summary, as can easily happen. Clearer captioning could correct this. The other point of contention, the apparent garbling of summaries that the running together of source lines can produce, would require a line-for-line replication to iron out.http://group.barclays.com
First published on 24 May, 2011