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Search Function

Search Function


Postby ASTEW09 » Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:14 am

Hi folks

Apologies if this has been discussed before, but I've just noticed that the 'search all walks' function has changed, and has been simplified quite a bit. Correct me if I'm wrong but it appears that you can no longer search all walks by 'munro' or 'corbett', or search for specifics within different regions. Does anyone know if there's a reason behind this? Or if there's a way to access the old search functions?

Cheers!
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Re: Search Function

Postby Paul Webster » Tue Feb 16, 2021 12:23 pm

Very few people used the old search, as it appeared so complicated at first glance. Use of the new one is about 10x more popular.

Where on the old one you had to choose the 'Walkhighlands' region(s) and have some understanding of our boundaries, the new one works out from any map location you enter (it should work with any placename that appears on OS 1:50k maps, postcodes, or your current location with 'Here') - so it doesn't require prior knowledge of Walkhighlands areas, or create problems when searching near what was a boundary. The old one also split results over several pages in what to users was a completely random way, whereas the new one can bring back all results in both list and map form.

We could bring back the filter to only return walks with a certain hill type though, under advanced options - and will look to doing this.
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Re: Search Function

Postby ASTEW09 » Tue Feb 16, 2021 1:17 pm

Thanks so much for your reply on this, that seems to make sense regarding the region's. Searching by hill type would be a very welcome re-addition, as well as the old option to be able to sort the walks in order of various options (distance, grade etc).

Thanks again for the reply!

Cheers
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Re: Search Function

Postby grant452 » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:06 pm

Hi Paul,

I agree that the original method of searching by region was frustrating (even for someone who knows Scotland fairly well) and prefer the new option to search by a specific location. However, as the other poster mentioned I would also like to have a option return where you can filter by Munro/Corbett etc. and also allow to to search by length/user rating/difficulty. In the main I'd prefer the first option of filtering by mountain type as it is difficult to determine which routes have Munros or Corbetts without going into each route page, or guess based on difficulty level.

Thanks,
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Re: Search Function

Postby Paul Webster » Tue Mar 09, 2021 6:00 pm

Sorry, been working on this. Have just added a filter for routes with Munros, Corbetts, Grahams.
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Re: Search Function

Postby grant452 » Tue Mar 09, 2021 6:43 pm

Cheers Paul, much appreciated :)
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Re: Search Function

Postby susanj » Fri Mar 12, 2021 6:03 pm

Sorry, I'm not convinced that the new search function is an improvement, but I never had a problem with the previous functionality. My first reaction to the new version was that it's virtually unusable if you just want to search on the name of a specific hill. What if you just want to search for,say, a Munro without knowing exactly where it is? Sorry if I'm being stupid or just missing something obvious!
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Re: Search Function

Postby nigheandonn » Fri Mar 12, 2021 8:13 pm

I was going to say that I didn't think that had ever been on the 'Search All Walks' page (which has always really been for filtering by category), but I think I see what you mean - clicking search at the top right and choosing to search for routes now takes you straight to that page.

Yes, I would also have expected that link to give me a chance to search by name, so it's a bit disconcerting.

(Also, despite the completely random adverts which always came up as the first results, I kind of miss being able to search the whole site for every mention of something, whether in a route description or in someone's report or in a news story.)
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Re: Search Function

Postby Paul Webster » Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:08 pm

Two different things being covered here. Hopefully the route search is better than what there was before - it's certainly getting use from far more people.


From susanj post onwards, I think we're talking about the list of all new search functions being where there used to be Google search.

It might seem strange, so here's the background / reasons we've done this:
- the Google search showed increasing amounts of Google ads - the top half of the result page was adverts, which meant than half or more of visitors were coming to Walkhighlands, searching, and getting sent off to a business rather than finding the right bit of WH which was the intention of the search box. Quite a few people have complained about something that they thought was on Walkhighlands when it wasn't (it just came up on Google's part of the result page).
- many people were not finding the WH search functions for walk routes, or for accommodation, judging by the search terms entered.
- we've now removed all Google and automated ads from every part of Walkhighlands. This started with the forum having all ads removed a few years ago. Earlier this year we removed all automated Google-type ads from articles, news stories and from walk descriptions. The search function (initially forgotten!) was the only bit of automated ads that was still on Walkhighlands. I looked into paying Google to remove the ads, which is possible but means a charge of £15,000 a year for their ad-free search.
- there's also a GDPR issue. When you do a Google search, google use what you search for for ad personalisation elsewhere (.e.g. on their own site). Legally, this requires that users have given advance consent given via the site being searched, which means that really needs one of those GDPR popup boxes that are on alot of media sites and require you to click and give permissions for use of data in advertising. We were always opted opt of allowing this on our own Google-powered ads, before we removed them. I think these boxes are incredibly annoying, and would rather have a strict policy protecting user privacy and no data going to Google.

We've tried to improve all the internal ad-free search functions which don't rely on Google data , and added new ones (such as for articles etc. which wasn't possible before).

On the specific point, we could add a 'Hills search' option that searched for names. I kind of thought that if you already know the hill you are looking for, you can simply go to it via the hills menu. But I can see that some people might think typing in a name is more convenient (if confident with spelling!)

A possible last resort would be to have Google search at the bottom of the search type lists, and you have to agree to them taking your data before the search goes ahead (rather than having that across the site).

I hope that makes sense; I don't think there is an ideal solution.
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Re: Search Function

Postby nigheandonn » Sun Mar 14, 2021 2:45 pm

Thank you for the explanation - it does make a lot of sense.

What I'm missing isn't specifically about hill names in the sense of listed hills - it could be the name of a particular ridge as an alternative way up, or a bothy, or a burn that looks like it might be a problem to cross, or just a feature that looks interesting on the map. Most of the mentions of these things are going to be in walk reports, but sometimes not (and sometimes what I thought was going to be an unusual route turns out to be the standard one when I actually look it up).

If I'm understanding it correctly, there's no way to search the whole site for a mention of something. (Except by going to Google and doing it from there, I suppose.)

Also you're just kind of trained that when you click on something that says 'search', you get a search box. Getting a set of filters instead feels a bit like turning a corner and finding a dead end, even if it's actually a useful way of finding things!
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Re: Search Function

Postby susanj » Mon Mar 15, 2021 10:29 pm

Hi Paul
Think I've found a solution that suits me, which is just to search for a specific hill in Google, which then brings back the Walk Highlands route as an option. Once that's selected it's easy to select the link to the route. Sorted!
Cheers
Susan
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Re: Search Function

Postby Paul Webster » Mon Mar 22, 2021 9:09 am

Thanks. This isn't all finalised, and we may end up with a Google Search as one of the search options, with suitable wording around privacy and ads we can't remove.
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Re: Search Function

Postby Paul Webster » Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:44 pm

We've updated this with a new version, which makes Google search possible as an option. If looking for a walk, the walk search is alot cleverer in looking for walks that fit your needs based around a specified location (all these other types of searches do have search boxes that can be used alone, if you don't want to adjust the filters).

We'd love to be able to stop Google from including ads when searching using Google (& from using the search data for profiling) but can't - but I've included text to that effect for those who do want a basic text search. You can, though, stop Google from profiling you for advertising across the web at: https://adssettings.google.com/

Google ads are otherwise completely gone from Walkhighlands.
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Paul Webster
Site Admin
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Sub 2000:117   Hewitts:133
Wainwrights:134   Islands:92
Joined: Jan 6, 2007
Location: Highland
Walk wish-list

Re: Search Function

Postby nigheandonn » Tue Mar 23, 2021 7:17 pm

Thanks :)

Next silly question - is there a way to search walks that isn't restricted by geography? Something like a list of all the easy 3-boot Munros, or all the difficult 5-boot ones?

100km from a central looking place - Fort Augustus - doesn't quite cover the north and south, but trying to do a northern and a southern circle tends to miss out Skye...
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Re: Search Function

Postby Paul Webster » Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:21 pm

Sadly not. A search of much more than 100km (a 200km circle) could either really slow the website down by returning >1000 walks, or would require for the results to only show a random assortment on the first search (which is what used to happen).
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Paul Webster
Site Admin
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 5429
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Grahams:68   Donalds:45
Sub 2000:117   Hewitts:133
Wainwrights:134   Islands:92
Joined: Jan 6, 2007
Location: Highland
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