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July 11, 2004

Searching Stores, Store Listings and Classifieds

When we think of searching for something on the Internet we automatically think of searching, Google-style. Google has pretty well set the standard for how people search for something.

Standards are good. If I decide to visit England, for example, I will very quickly determine that I will be safer if I drive on the left side of the road.

The same thing applies to how we need to be able to search for Stores, Store Listings and Classifieds here at the Longears Mall. While the GeoClassifieds Enterprise Edition software that I use for this purpose offers way more features than any of the other classifieds packages out there, it still needs some minor surgery in the "searching area". I'm sure that after you try searching with it you will agree.

For example, here is the initial search box for Classifieds.


One would suspect that all the information on the horizontal search bar above is related to searching. It would be more intuative if they were clustered to the right instead of spread out across the entire width of the screen. That is something I want to redo.

Now for searching. Let's suppose I am looking for a "molly mule". Using Google's search style I would type in my search like this:


Typing both "molly" and "mule" is interpreted by searches such as Google to mean "search for entries that contain "molly" and "mule". I would then make sure that "Classifieds" is selected in the middle and click on the "Search" button to the right. The results are not at all what I would expect! They include all entries that have either "molly" or "mule" in them.


You can see that "molly mule" is only referenced in one of the three ads in the screenshot from the top of the results. At this point I will probably click on the "Advanced Search" link at the top right of the screen to see if I can gain additional enlightenment.


I am next presented with the following screen:


I see the little box with the "?" and assume that it must provide me with additional "help".


Clicking on it produces the following information:

Use a ',' or 'or' to separate terms you wish to search for by using the 'or' condition. This means that a search result will be returned if a classified title and/or description matches either (or both) of your terms you have entered. You may string together as many 'or' terms as you wish.

(Example) Search for: red or blue

...will return all classified listings that have 'red' or 'blue' in the title and/or description.

Use an 'and' between terms for a multi-conditional search. This means that a result will be returned only if the title and/or description of a classified listing matches all of terms you have entered.

(Example) Search for: red and blue

...will return all classified listings that have 'red' and 'blue' in the title and/or description.

Tip: a search for 'some'

...would match 'here is something' in a partial word match, but would not in a whole word search. The term 'some' would match 'here is some stuff' in a whole word match.

OK. So now I know that I need to use a connector such as "and" or "or".

The reality is that "and" does not work properly either. Reprogramming the search functions so that they work as you would expect is currently my top priority. I will let you know as soon as it is fixed. On a good note -- the zip code search works!

And now for our daily photo:

One of the most beautiful sights is a well-coordinated team of mules. In the northwest they would hook them up 4 wide and 5 deep to pull large agricultural equipment. Here is a magnificent photo from Bishop Mule Days of the Wagons West 20 Mule Team put together by Ray Jensen.


Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at July 11, 2004 08:59 AM