Search is one of most heavily trafficked sites on Microsoft.com with more than 76 million page views per month, 28 million queries per month, and 13 million unique users per month. Although 25 incremental changes had been made to improve Search over the past two years, customers have repeatedly requested a broader revamp of Search. Customer satisfaction is very important to Microsoft.com, so improving Search has been a top priority for us. We needed to fundamentally overhaul Search's architecture, functionality, and user interface across Microsoft.com.
The success of this project is due, in large part, to the coordinated efforts of people from many Microsoft groups. The Search project was led by Program Manager Fabrice Canel, with executive sponsorship from George Goley, Senior Director of the Microsoft.com Applications Team.
- What Was Wrong with Search?
- Search results weren't relevant enough. The technology we used in our previous version of Search had become outdated. While the technology performed well, the results were often irrelevant and difficult to interpret. To increase the relevancy of search results, we instituted "Best Bets" for popular search terms. These editorialized matches offered up to 12 search result links at the top of the search results page. However, we discovered customers were bypassing these links 64 percent of the time because they looked like purchased advertisements.
Usability tests and customer feedback, as well as our own experience, revealed the following: