The business wanted to implement a unified search throughout Citrix sites, also known as “The Big Box Search” and “Universal Search, Uniﬁed Search is a single line search that aggregates results from data sources across all Citrix sites, presenting a uniﬁed set of search results on one page that are filterable and sorted by type, location and category.
My role in this project was to determine and design the best way possible to implement a unified search to search content across Citrix.com, Citrix Edu-cation, Citrix Support, Citrix TV, Citrix Discussions, Citrix eDocs and the Citrix Blog. The biggest challenge was that the majority of the sites were in silos and couldn’t communicate with each other.
To gain further insight into searching across Citrix silos we created a free Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) and configured it to search Citrix Blogs, Knowledge Center articles, Citrix TV, and eDocs. Then we let Google host the page without any additional styling or words around it. This method has obvious drawbacks like the results contains advertisements and limits on styling (but what do you expect for free, for a fee the restrictions could be removed). This seemed to be the simplest and fastest way to get this type of search in front of our users for real hands-on feedback with real data.
We tested a few ways of directing traffic to the experimental search page. First we added a highlighted link to the experimental search page from eDocs home page which receives over 2,000 views per day, this brought about 100 people per day to the experimental search page (wow 5% of the homepage visitors read the eDocs home page and acted on it). A few days later we tested how much traffic a pop-up directing users to the experimental search page would generate. With the Pop-up the search page received over 350 visits per day or an improvement of 3.5 times over the home page method.
We also tested what difference an incentive (chance to win $100) would make on users taking a survey. With our previous Feature survey we offered a change to win $100 for filling out the survey and with this Search survey we did not offer any incentive. The incented Feature survey had 1,758 survey started in just 5 working days where the non-incented Search survey received 103 surveys in 11 working days. So the $100 incentive improved the survey responses by 37 times.
Our Search Survey ask these 3 question about the experimental unified search page.
1. Please rate how much you like/dislike this search tool.
2. Do you prefer this search tool over our current search?
3. Why did you select “Yes”
- Because search for all Citrix page
- Better answers, better hits
- Blog and KB search is a welcome addition. Citrix TV needs more metadata so it can be searched. Relevance rankings are much better.
- Broader search
- Combines White Papers and eDocs. Shows URL so I know what type of content it is. Finds relevant results.
- Current search doesn’t always find what I need, and often yields poor results.
- Easier and narrows options
- Enjoy the familiar “google search” type results
- I use Google to search for Citrix answers, this is more direct and.
- Get hits from other citrix web sites
User liked the federated search with tabs to drill down by Silo. They felt that results were more relevant than the current eDocs search and they liked the fact that is was Google and that it was fast. They liked more space being allocated to the search results. They liked to ability to quickly filter by silo based on the type of info they were looking for. They wanted the ability to filter by product and release. They asked for additional Citrix Silos to be searched along with some restricted sources (like discussions, downloads and email distribution). They disliked the Ads, not having the search imbedded in eDocs and the style of the search page/results.