On the 6 September last year, we turned on a new search service for parliament.uk. On the 19 January we'll switch off the ‘old service’ for all our users and we'll be fully decommissioning the service by the end of January.
Unified search experience
Parliament currently has various search functions (on the website and the intranet, for example) and our vision is to offer a unified search experience. We want to make sure that we show better results for everyone with an interface that’s relevant and understandable.
Which search are people using?
When we launched the new search service, we gave users the choice of viewing their search results on the old service. This was to safeguard against any problems with the new service, and give users a chance to adjust and feedback.
In a typical day, 4% of user sessions that involve searching have viewed at least one of their searches on the old service.
Listening to feedback
User feedback, via a survey on the old service, indicates some users are simply interested in comparing the two searches. Others are looking for features that aren’t available in either service, and we’re using this feedback to make changes (like document type, for example pdfs).
There is, however, likely to be a group of users who prefer the old service. We're encouraging them to get in touch for support on using other search services.
Reduced costs and increased performance
Decommissioning the old search service will be the last part of a recent migration of Parliament's website search services to new platforms. The migration reduces the cost of running these services and we're already making savings. Estimates put the savings at 90 - 95% of the previous cost.
The new platform also offers improved performance, with users of internal search reporting the results load faster and less timing out waiting for complex queries.
We’ll be releasing more hints and continuing to look at how people use our search. Look out for future posts to find out what we’ve learned and how search is changing.