Designing the Search Experience

Half Day Workshop, presented by Rebecca Rodgers.

Poor search is one of the greatest sources of user frustration with websites and intranets. Worse yet, the inadequacies of search may be consigning these sites as a whole to failure. If users can’t find information when they need it, will they even come to the site?

Organisations are now recognising that search is a critical business tool on their intranet as well as on their websites. More than just a way to find documents or pages, search can directly support users completing their common tasks. Fundamentally, however, this is not a technology problem. Modern search engines have more than enough functionality to deliver a workable search solution.

The current issues with search, however, stem from simply using the out-of-the-box installation. In practice, there is a key piece of design that must be done to create effective user interfaces, as well as to tune the search engine behind the scenes. At the most basic level, this may only involve 2–3 days of work, although beyond that there are many more advanced approaches that can be considered.

This workshop explores in-depth how to improve the design and effectiveness of search, providing best (and worst) practice examples throughout. Key information architecture principles are explored, including how “information scent” can be used to guide the design of search results pages. The workshop will be a mix of presentation, group work and facilitated discussion.

Topics covered in this workshop include

  • key principles of effective search
  • nine step methodology for improving search
  • developing search personas
  • improving the search interface for general and specialist users
  • enhancing search results
  • search sage reports
  • search engine synonyms and ‘best bets’

At the end of the workshop you will have practical tools and techniques to immediately improve the design of your search engine.


This workshop is aimed at the inexperienced IAs rather than the IA professional, website managers, intranet managers, and project (or IT) teams responsible for search.


  • I wanted to thank you again for a wonderful UI session at the search summit. Truly one of the best!
  • real life examples provided useful information that I can apply immediately
  • outstanding! super facilitation of group discussions. I can actually use this NOW. Absolutely got something I can use immediately
  • this was informative and fun, I am walking away with stuff I can use this week at work

Rebecca Rodgers

Rebecca Rodgers

Rebecca Rodgers is a Senior Consultant at Step Two Designs, Australia’s leading vendor-neutral consultancy, specialising in intranets and content management. She has over 12 years experience on a variety of large projects in the corporate world covering intranets, search, usability, user centred design, IA, business analysis, project management and training.

Rebecca has worked with a variety of clients including large corporates, local and state government, health sector. Some of her recent work has been for clients including: Commonwealth Bank, Macquarie University, Woollahra Municipal Council, Boehringer Ingelheim, University of Western Sydney, Child Support Agency.

Her credentials and experience encompass the disciplines of Usability and information architecture, Information management, search, change and project management and technology. She holds a a nationally recognised training qualification (TAA40104 Certificate IV in Assessment and Training) and runs workshops in Australia and overseas.

Program Schedule is online

The program schedule is now online. Don’t worry, we have a couple suprises planned to de-stress the packed schedule.

Student rates!

We’re offering special rates for full time students, for the conference and for the workshops.


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