Advanced Search Features for the Campus Calendar

advanced calendar searchWe’ve received some great feedback lately about the OU Campus Calendar and wanted to share what has come out of this: advanced search features!

This little box you see underneath the  calendar grid highlights our recent phase of calendar development and will hopefully prove extremely useful while searching and browsing for events.

1) Event Types – When events are created, they can be tagged by the event creator with one or multiple event types. This is a small group of about 6 categories which allows the end user to browse events by a specific type. By default, when a user selects an event type and clicks “go,” the next year’s worth of events tagged with that event type will display.

2) Date Range – One of the most common requests we received from feedback was regarding additional date range options. By default this date range is one year from today.

3) Search Term – As with each of these advanced options, the search field is optional. By default, entering a keyword into the search box and clicking “go” will return results for the next year.

4) All Together Now – Yes – you can use any of these options above by themselves. Or – drum roll, please – you can use them together! Maybe you want to know which football games are between Dec. 14 and Jan. 15 – you could use the date range and search fields together.

A few bonuses

– Check out the “View Next 7 Days” and “Next 14 Days” options below the calendar grid – these are quick ways to see the next week and next two weeks at a glance… So glance away.

– Search criteria for your results is now displaying below the calendar header in the main body of the event list. This should make it easier on users to know what results are being returned.

Who, What, Where, When, How, Why

Well, maybe this doesn’t answer all of those, but does give some background on this phase of the calendar. After the first release of the calendar, we knew we needed to add in advanced searching and browsing options for events. So, we did our homework. We looked a lots of calendars, studied original usability tests and took in to account feedback. What we found was that there were many ways to display these advanced features and couldn’t necessarily agree on a “best” option.

This took us to one of our most robust usability tests yet. Our development team created a couple different options for a new UI and our research team took these out, along with another 3rd party option, to test with actual users. After this test, we brought the results to Kevin Jessop at Evolve Research (our go-to guy for usability testing and consulting). Working with Kevin we were able to narrow down our best option and incorporate pieces from the other two versions to make one master UI (mua ha ha ha ha).

Enjoy!

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