Vision Blog

Thought Leadership, Best Practices, Insights and Examples


Are You Delighting Customers with Search on Your Local Government Website?

by Tom Humbarger
Post Date:10/05/2015

Search has always been an important part of local government websites, and our latest usability studies have confirmed that Search is usually one of the top three functions that users select when they visit a website. In addition, many of our clients opt for designs that are based on having a prominent search bar on their homepage.



Why is Search Important?

We have uncovered four other reasons why search is so important for improving customer engagement:

  1. Better User Experience – About 87% of search queries are unique, one-time searches and over 90% of people that perform a search do not go past the first page. Many users will use the search box without even trying to figure out the navigation menu.
  2. Increased Time Spent on Site – Users who have a great search experience are most likely to spend more time on the site because they can actually find what they were looking for.
  3. More Actions – Users who managed to find what they were looking for when searching a website are more apt to complete the action on the website.
  4. Decreased Bounce Rate – Bounce rate has been found to decrease on sites with a strong search option, and customers using the search function sometimes discover additional site information that attracts them to keep viewing more pages. 

Introducing visionSearch

Because of the importance of search in local government websites, we recently rolled out improved search functionality in our visionLive CMS solution. The new visionSearch feature has important benefits for end-users as well as site administrators who manage the websites. 


 Fine-Tuning Search Improves User Experience

visionSearch provides powerful options for site administrators by allowing them to fine-tune the search results to improve user experience and ultimately, the search results:

  • Search Synonyms – Administrators can set up search synonyms to capture all possible phrases that your customers may use when conducting a search. For example, you can associate similar words such as trash, rubbish, waste and recycling to mean the same as garbage. Issuing a search for any of these words will return search results containing any of the synonyms.
  • Keywords – Administrators can add keywords to promote specific pages to the top of the search results. Promoting pages ensures that content you want users to find is at located at the top of their search results.
  • Integrate Across Multiple Domains – visionSearch allows administrators to integrate search results across multiple domains which will provide a consolidated view of search results for related sites or sub-sites. This unified search capability allows users to issue search requests that cover any content you want them to search.
  • No External Connection Needed – visionSearch can also be used with an intranet, and does not require an external internet connection. 

Users Get a Better Search Experience 

From an end-user standpoint, visionSearch makes it easier for users to quickly find what they want in their search results. Here are some examples of how visionSearch will delight your users:

  • Sorting - Some users may want to access the most recently updated content on a topic or find content that has a specific name -- and the sort feature will let them quickly identify that content. Users can take advantage of the sort functionality to easily sort the results by relevance, last modified date, title or content type.
  • Filtering - Other times, users may be looking for results from the calendar or staff directory, and will want to filter search results to show just those items. visionSearch has extensive content filtering to limit the search to any type of content in the system.
  • Advanced options – More skilled users may want to take advantage of our advanced search options. In advanced search, users can create advanced Boolean searches without even knowing any complex syntax. They could use the simplified interface to enter precise searches that include or exclude specific words or phrases. Or they may be looking for a specific type of content, like a PDF or Word document. In this instance, the advanced search option also provides the ability to filter by document type to find a specific document type.

The net-net is that visionSearch provides your customers with a better search experience and delights them by helping them quickly find what they are seeking. 

Take visionSearch for a Test Drive

The best way to experience what visionSearch can do for your customers is to take it for a test drive.

The City of Santa Clarita, California recently launched a new website which incorporates visionSearch and here is what how it looks:


 You may want to check out visionSearch on these websites as well:

Get visionSearch for your Website

Exceeding your customers’ expectations when it comes to finding what they want on your website is key to building trust and earning their confidence. Request a free consultation to learn more about visionSearch and how it can power your local government website.



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