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Improving the search function on

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Continuous iteration, Data and search, Experts in what we do,

The Data and Search team's guest chair

The Data and Search team are working to improve the search function on It’s the start of more work we’ll be doing on search in the future. 

Working on improvements

We’ve known for some time that we need to make improvements to search. User testing revealed that “the biggest impact and improvement of the user experience would be to enhance the search functions and search results.”

In addition to testing, a strategic review of Parliament’s online services by MySociety conducted in 2014, found areas for improvement on search. This work, together with work we’ve done since, has been based on feedback from people who use the service.

Accurate, clear and usable

We’re working to make search better with results that are more accurate and presented in a clear and usable way that people will use. We're doing this by speaking to users and showing our work.

One of the problems with search is that there are functions in different places that work in different ways. We want to make sure that we show better results for everyone with an interface that’s appropriate and understandable.

To help us with this work, we’ve run user tests where we watch how people use the existing search function and compare it with the new version. In addition to this we’re looking at how the search results can be shown.

Working in the open

You can see for yourself how the new version of search works on the beta website. After more work this will become search on the new

Making search better involves collaboration between several teams within PDS. The first version of the API  is part of the department’s work on making Parliament’s new data service. Our own staff are using the API now and we'll make it public for anyone to use and build on in future.

We deliver our work in small steps. The gradual changes you'll see are tested at each stage to see if they're helping to improve the experience of search. As we make more of the information we publish available in a structured form as part of the new data service, we'll be using this to improve search as well.

Let us know your feedback on the beta website in the comments below. 

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