How to evaluate your site search - Part 2

How to evaluate your site search – Part 2

We return to our series on evaluating your site search. In the previous post, we looked at:
  • Auto-complete
  • Single-word spellcheck
  • Double-word spellcheck
  • Synonym match
This time, we’ll deal with the following tests:
  • Singular versus plural
  • Category matching and category relevance
  • Phonetic spellcheck
How to evaluate your site search - Part 2
Is your looking glass strong enough? Does it break under simple test cases? Image By Tomomarusan, via Wikimedia Commons
Let’s see if your site search is resilient for these.
    • Singular versus plural This test sounds simple but achieving accuracy in these tests is hard. The goal is that whether the query is “runners” or “runner”, both terms should be considered same as the root of the query, i.e. run. It basically means that search must understand rules of the language and how the individual words are reduced to their simplest roots.
  • Category matching Visitors on a site sometimes search for generic categories or stores, not specific product names, for eg., “apparels” or “appliances”. Your search should be able to identify that the search was for an exact category or store name and display products from that particular category or store only. This ensures that only the most relevant results are presented since the visitor typed the exact store or category name.
  • Category relevance Suppose visitors search for “trimmers”, would you display books about trimmers or trimmer from the appliances store? The challenge here is in determining that the more relevant store here is the appliances store and not the books store. Your search should be able to make this determination.
  • Phonetic spellcheck Regular spellcheck tries to find the nearest words that might be the candidates for correct spelling. With phonetic checks, we need to judge whether the visitor wanted to find a product that sounded like the spellings he entered in the search box. For instance, a visitor searches for “jaket” but without a phonetic spell-checker he might be presented results for “racket” instead of “jacket”.
Thats all for this week’s instalment of search evaluation. We’ll tackle some more tests next week. Till then, comment away! or email me at: shehjart AT Unbxd DOT com

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