The Electoral Commission is an independent organization set up by the UK Parliament, with the goal of ensuring integrity and public confidence in the country’s democratic process.
Its main activities include registering political parties, administering rules and guidance on party and election finance, and publishing details of party and candidate funding. Alongside this, the Commission is also responsible for setting standards and policies for running elections and communicating the importance of registering to vote alongside facilitating the registration process.
A content-heavy organization by nature, the Electoral Commission needed a search platform, which was able to deliver accurate and relevant information from multiple sources quickly and easily.
Serving everything from political parties and campaigners to academia and public sector workers, the search platform had to be both reliable and accurate enough to effectively serve around 35,000 individual searches per month.
The previous system had been outgrown by the content on the site and wasn’t fit for purpose. The current search system was taking website visitors too long to find what they were looking for. It was very slow and search results were not relevant enough. They ended up giving up on their searches and the Electoral Commission had to spend a lot of time helping people that were asking for content that was actually available on the website, but just not easily accessible.
With Funnelback offering a range of features such as filtering, relevancy tuning, user rating, multi-lingual search, advanced multi-parameter search, and contextual navigation, the Electoral Commission partnered with Squiz to implement the search platform. The implementation of Funnelback was designed to give users the ability to refine their search results quickly and efficiently, enabling self-discovery of the most relevant content.
These and other performance-enhancing features all work to improve navigation, user experience, and the speed of information retrieval that the Electoral Commission wanted to achieve. The focus was also on empowering the user by the use of faceted navigation, allowing the user to filter their results by the field's most pertinent to them; such as file types, date, subject, location, and audience.
A complex content migration project was also undertaken and implementation of a user-friendly interface that serves multiple audiences. Intelligent filtering, contextual navigation, and the use of synonyms helped users to self-direct and intuitively cut through thousands of results to find the information they are looking for, without the need to shift to other channels to gain answers to their queries. This approach helped to reduce the user journey.
The implementation of Funnelback has not only improved efficiency and the experience for users of the website; but has also had a huge impact on the team behind the scenes, allowing them to separate language content such as English and Welsh, and most importantly influence the order of results and promote content through search.
Providing the ability to search across all three of the commission databases, Funnelback bridges the previously stand-alone data siloes, ensuring that users have full access to the most relevant information, no matter where it is stored. Making things even more intuitive, the new platform provides a top-level overview of results returned and distinguishes the format of data, highlighting if the results are web data, PDF, forms, or spreadsheets.
The improved search, new features, and greater degree of administrative control have had a significant impact on the performance of the Electoral Commission’s website. Conversion rates have increased from 22% at the beginning of the project, to 52% after just three months, while clicks on featured pages have more than tripled.