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Better ways to search

Dmitriy Buterin 09 November 2006 0 comments

Your non-profit organization probably has a large database of contacts - your members, donors, volunteers.

How do you quickly find one record among many thousands? Especially if you only vaguely recall things like 'his name is probably Bill', 'his membership has lapsed' and 'his company name has something to do with imports' (and you are not even sure about these)?

Traditional search interfaces are clunky. "Basic" search typically only searches for the person's name so it is out. "Advanced" search has all these fields and scary options like "AND/OR" (Boolean logic is a lot of fun, right?). So you type something, click Search. Wait for results to come. Receive either too many results - or too few. Repeat your search many times over in different ways to get a manageable number of results. Keep clicking "Next page"...

When we were designing Wild Apricot we decided to re-think the search function. We all like the clean and simple interface of Google search - so we wanted to make our search functionality just as easy to use. And we have done it - thanks to the innovative use of Web 2.0 technologies (AJAX).

Here is how search works in Wild Apricot (see online demo of the search function):

As you start typing, Wild Apricot instantly shows matching records. You can type all kinds of things: person's name, organization, date, membership status or level - system will search and show all matching records.

You can stop typing as soon as you see a manageable results list. And using Backspace you can very quickly try many different searches with way fewer clicks and time spent.

(see online demo )

Is this the perfect way to search? Not yet :-) There are certain situations when you need more complicated sorting and searching capabilities than what can be done via a single search field. But in 99% of cases you will find Wild Apricot basic search function easier and faster to use - at least, that's what our customers are telling us!

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Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

Posted by Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

Published Thursday, 09 November 2006 at 5:14 PM
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