Since the redesigned Fingate site launched last year, FMS has been focused on optimizing the site to meet our users' needs. The site, which garners over 20,000 pageviews each month, supports the Stanford community in quickly locating and understanding policies, processes and the needed information to perform financial activities efficiently, accurately and within compliance. While the redesign did include a focus on providing a more modern look and feel to our users, the primary goals were, and continue to be, ensuring that users can search and navigate through the site efficiently and effectively.

As a continuation of those goals, FMS has recently implemented some changes to Fingate search functionality that will improve the user experience. These changes are a result of a deep dive study of the site analytics, user experience polls and direct feedback from the site's audience.

Enhancements launched on August 1

The changes to search functionality include:

  • Re-configured the search engine: Now, the search engine will display all the results associated with any part of a phrase you entered into in the search query. This has significantly improved the number of relevant results generated by the search engine, especially when a user types in a search phrase that doesn't match exactly to a phrase in the site.

  • Added suggested search terms functionality: As you are typing the first letters of their search query, a list of suggested search terms based on available results will automatically display for you to select from. This is a common functionality in other search engines to assist the user with targeting their search request.


Enhancements launched on August 12

The second round of search enhancements included more improvements focused on usability and to provide a more holistic search experience:

  • Search modal screenshot
    Quicker search entry: In the full-screen search modal, which is activated by clicking on the “Search” button in the top right corner of the site, the cursor is now immediately active in the search text field and users can type their search query without having to either tab multiple times or move their mouse cursor to the text field. This change greatly enhances the accessibility and usability of the search.
  • Consolidated search: Also in the full-screen search modal, the radio buttons to limit your search to just the site or the newsroom have been removed. The search engine will now display results containing items such as announcements and newsletters. This change is a result of feedback that users did not know which radio button to choose, or, in some cases, had not been aware that there was a differentiation in the content type they were searching for.
  • Search results filtered with news option
    New search filter: To support the consolidated search, we have added a new filter in the search results pages, to narrow or widen results by news content type in the left hand sidebar.


Next steps

On August 15, we closed the search poll that had been active for three weeks and garnered over 130 responses. We want to thank everyone who took the time to participate in the poll and share their search insights.    

We’re analyzing the poll submissions and have already applied several configurations to ensure that common searches produce relevant results. Last week we started the discovery process of exploring how to best upgrade the search engine to the most recent version with the goal of delivering a more robust and effective search experience.

Stayed tuned for future updates about the Fingate search. If you ever have any questions or suggestions, feel free to send your feedback to @email.

Thank you for your continued feedback and happy searching!

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