Update: This article was originally published in October 2020. The search improvements mentioned were launched in January 2021.
As you might have heard, search improvements are underway in the WMS. In the image above, you can see our old search experience (left) and the new version (right). As part of these updates, we're pleased to announce some new features and refinements.
New filters will make it possible for people using search in the WMS to narrow their search results. You will now be able to filter results by:
- Content type - View results for specific content types (programs, news, events and courses)
- Faculty - View results from sites affiliated with a particular faculty*
- Publication date - View results that have been added or updated during a specified period
- Language - View results in your choice of English or French (subject to availability of content)
We also plan to offer the ability to filter by source site. This much-requested feature will allow you to view results located on the site from which you began your search. Keep your eyes peeled! We're hard at work and will launch the feature as soon as it's ready.
* Note that site managers affiliated with one or more faculties should opt in to this feature by identifying their faculty affiliation(s) in the "site settings" admin panel of their site. A site's faculty affiliation should be visible in the search results within a day of updating it in the site settings.
Improved formatting will make it easier for people to scan and read search results. Changes include increased spacing and a clearer information hierarchy. These updates align with the recent design updates in the WMS, and we'll refine the interface as our search tool and WMS branding evolve.
Doing your part to improve search
Though these new updates will improve the functionality, look and feel of the WMS search pages, the quality of search results will be dependent on the quality of the content. To ensure visitors have the best possible experience when using search on WMS sites, site editors and managers should follow best practices for creating web content such as:
- Be user-focused
- Tailor your website content to suit your visitors' requirements
- Adhere to best practices for writing and formatting content for websites
- Take the WS-101 Writing for the Web training course for a complete overview of recommended best practices
- Adhere to SEO best practices
- Consider keywords placement and density
- Keep your content up to date
Web Services training courses provide an overview of best practices for creating web content. Two of these courses - WS-100 Writing for the Web and WS-101 McGill's Digital Standards - are mandatory for all WMS site managers and editors, as well as owners and editors of VHost and blogs.mcgill.ca sites. Visit our Training & events page for full details.