Legalease : Truncating search terms
Limitations limit the value of search to all parties.
Legalease, a UK publisher of information and analysis for the legal profession, imposes a character limitation on its primary search tool.
Legalease focuses most of its content on details of its various products and publications. A universal ‘Search’ option at top right of all pages allows visitors to type in a term for an initial simple search. However, the field will accept a maximum of 20 characters, although this does not become apparent until the limit is reached. For example, ‘Practical Conveyancing’, an online publication, is rendered as ‘Practical Conveyanci’; ‘pensions dispute resolution’ is restricted to ‘pensions dispute res’.
The search is not intuitive, so looks only for the term as accepted. Results include an option to search for the same term in Google. The link opens a results page in Google for a web-wide search, rather than a Google-powered search of the Legalease site.
Legalease’s limit on the number of characters accepted in a search term seems unnecessarily – and unhelpfully – restrictive even in a world enamoured of Twitter’s 140-character allowance. It also works against the interests of the company as well as site users, an issue which is exacerbated by the offer of a Google search as an alternative to its own.
Not only does the character limit increase the likely proportion of irrelevant matches in some Legalease searches – leading to frustration or abandonment of the attempt – but the redirection to Google is akin to pushing people to competitor sites and information providers. If it wants to optimise the commercial value of its search, Legalease should do away with the character count – Google likes people to type in lots of words because that increases their chance of finding what they want – and drop the Google connection to concentrate on improving its own engine.http://www.legalease.co.uk
First published on 02 June, 2009