If you ever find yourself down at the bottom of the screen on Helping You Harmonise, you may notice that a Search box has arrived. This is a sign of the site reaching a certain maturity – there is enough stuff here now that it can take a while to navigate around it using the date and category links.
Of course, people who arrive looking for something in particular will probably have gone straight to whatever it was that their external search engine suggested might meet their needs. The on-site search is more likely to be useful to people who have been here before and half-remember something they want to check back on.
That rather describes my own use of the search function. (I’ve had it available for some time to test so we could tweak the configuration before it went live.) I find myself thinking, ‘When did I write about Schelling? I think it was quite a bright, frosty morning, so I’ll browse through January.’ And then I find him at the end of February about an hour later having got distracted by following a link to a post on someone else’s blog that I’d forgotten having linked to, and commenting on three of their posts. So the search function is there not only to help locate half-recalled content, but also to save us from our own absent-mindedness. (There is a cheap joke to made there about it being not only the website that is displaying symptoms of a certain maturity, but I will rise above it.)
Of course, we could always go to google and search within this domain rather than introduce a whole new bit of functionality. But it seems somehow inhospitable to invite you here with lots of content, then make you go elsewhere to find your way round it. It’s a bit like when you get all snuggled in by a log fire in a cosy pub and then discover they only have outside loos – just takes the edge off the experience. Besides, if I get side-tracked just trying to navigate content I’ve written myself, can you imagine how long it would take me to get back to the point once I’d wandered out into the rest of the internet?
Anyway, let me know how you find the new facility. I am blessed with a webmaster who sees feedback as an opportunity to make the user experience wonderful, so if you find things that would make life nicer or easier, do let us know.