The Charity Commission of England & Wales is the independent government regulator for the UK’s 160,000 charities, overseeing combined annual donations of $84 billion. The organization is split across four physical sites and is tasked with providing a range of services to five different stakeholders including: charities themselves, the public, other government departments, the legal sector and the media.
With Lexmark’s Perceptive Search functionality in place on the site, visitors can find information in any file format that was previously hidden deep within the Charity Commission’s website. They can also locate content using advanced search logic to refine search queries, leading to more relevant results. This improves satisfaction among the nine million people who visit the site each year
The Charity Commission website is the contact point for nine million visitors every year. Providing quick and easy access to the information that each person is looking for is a complex task. The website offers more than 500,000 pages containing everything from detailed listings and information about each charity, to documentation about charity law and legislation. These documents are stored on the site in a range of different file formats, making efficient and quick search vital, but challenging.
When the Commission embarked on a comprehensive redesign of its website, the team wanted to look at ways in which it could improve the built-in search function—making it more prominent and ensuring visitors were able to use it to quickly and easily locate the exact information required.
“The old website was using Google Mini as its search function, but we didn’t feel as though it was intuitive enough, and so a number of visitors weren’t using it or were getting frustrated,” said Paul Rogers from the Charity Commission. “It also didn’t have the power to enable us to add additional metadata to enable ‘smarter searching’ on the site. We didn’t want to force our visitors to search long and hard for content; we wanted them to automatically be shown relevant results, depending on what they were looking for.”
The Commission and its partner Harlequin examined a variety of options, but finally determined that Perceptive Search from Lexmark was best suited to meet its needs. “Perceptive Search just ticked the boxes,” Rogers said. “It was easy to implement but at the same time had extremely powerful functionality and features that would allow us to put effective search capabilities at the fingertips of our web users.”
Perceptive Search and Harlequin integrated seamlessly with the Commission’s “Punch” content management system. The advanced features of the Lexmark solution enabled the web team to start adding sophisticated intelligence to the search function. This includes the ability to filter out sections of the site that were only open to certain users, adding metadata to individual pieces of content to aid relevancy, and helping Perceptive Search recognize common acronyms that occur in documents.
And it’s not only the web team that quickly began to benefit. With the search function in place on the site, visitors can find information in any file format that was previously hidden deep within the site. They can also locate content using advanced search logic to refine search queries, leading to more relevant results. As the website develops, the Commission will pay close attention to how the search function is being used by visitors, so further changes can be made to aid usability. The Perceptive Search product family includes the SearchTrends analytics package, which makes it easy for administrators to review search usage reports and trends.
Paul Rogers Charity Commission of England and WalesPerceptive Search just ticked the boxes. It was easy to implement; but at the same time had extremely powerful functionality and features that would allow us to put effective search capabilities at the fingertips of our web users.
The Commission is also considering applying Perceptive Search to its internal IT infrastructure, so that employees can use the same powerful search functionality to locate information across the organization from a range of different sources.
“The website project has demonstrated to us the importance of having reliable search, especially in an organization that features a vast amount of information in a range of different formats,” Rogers said. “Rolling this out across the organization makes sense and is certainly a long-term goal for us.”