Perlfect Solutions

[Perlfect-search] [Fwd: Perlfect Search usability test]

Giorgos Zervas
Mon, 11 Sep 2000 10:18:23 +0000
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Hi all,

A very interesting read below...

Thanks to David Travis who did the test.

Perlfect Solutions
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Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2000 18:01:52 +0200
Subject: Perlfect Search usability test
From: David Travis <>
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Organization: System Concepts Ltd
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Hi Giorgos

I recently downloaded Perlfect Search and included it in my company's
website. I think it's a great tool and I want to thank you for making this

My company makes money by carrying out usability tests for clients. I
recently tested our own website and thought you might be interested to hear
the comments that related to the search engine. Our implementation can be
seen at Our old search engine can be
seen at

1. Most of our participants immediately used the search to find articles of
interest to them and the search engine did an excellent job of identifying
the best articles. It helped participants get to the best article in 2-3
clicks. Compared to our old search engine (that doesn't relevancy rank)
Perlfect Search is a major usability improvement.

2. However, only 1 out of the 10 participants used the "+" and "-" syntax to
force or exclude terms. All the other participants assumed that the search
would automatically AND the terms together. So there was surprise when (for
example) "website usability" returned more hits than just "usability". We
suggest that you add an option so that webmasters can turn off the Boolean
operators and make the search automatically AND terms together.

3. Users didn't understand the scoring system. When forced, they guessed
that the values were percentages. We suggest that the results of each search
are normalised, with the best page given a rank of 100%. (This also helps
developers who want to write a Mac OS 9.0 Sherlock plug-in since the
"relevancy" tags in Sherlock assume that the search engine provides a
percentage value).

It's important to keep the last two comments in perspective. Overall, I want
to stress that Perlfect Search will provide a major usability improvement to
any site. Thanks again!
David Travis
System Concepts Ltd, 2 Savoy Court, Strand, London WC2R 0EZ
Tel: 020 7240 3388  Fax: 020 7240 5212