Can I suggest that you look at this thread in General . The Webmaster has repaired the search function of the Helpline and there has been a thread about it. It is worth repeating in this West Section
Where is it? It isn't evident either here or on general europe.
Look in the upper right corner of the pages.
Where it says "Holiday Sale" - then the white box to the right just under the social network buttons...
Very difficult to find. I suggest it be placed on each locational page, as it was before.
I appreciate the improvement and the fact that Rick provides this forum. But that search box is graphically obscure. It appears - I mean visually - to be a search of the retail sales site. It is physically separated from the forum contents, and I would never have thought to try it, if only because it never used to include the Helpline. If it isn't moved, it needs a checkbox for Helpline
Those are good comments david and Tim. Have you guys mentioned them to the Webmaster? He tends not to read the Helpline in detail.
Thanks for putting this reminder here. I found just what I needed for my Next trip using the search.
Seriously! Folks are complaining about this forum getting a search box that actually works without needing to go to google first? Plus, that it is in the wrong place? The rest of us are thrilled that the webmaster has finally been able to upgrade the forum so that it actually searches it. Search boxes are pretty much in the same place on every single website or forum. Not being able to find them means you aren't really looking.
Jo, I am 60 years old, and I will never be a Web Designer. I can't even use all the functions of my $100/year pay-as-you-go mobile phone. But (by way of illustration ....) is it too much to ask that a pedestrian traffic signal face the intended audience and display a figure of a walking person? And there's no capital investment required for a logical human interface ... on ... the ... web.
Tim display a figure of a walking person What sort of graphic do you think would be best? Better than the English word "Search"? is it too much to ask that a pedestrian traffic signal face the intended audience (assuming I understand your critique) where do you think the search function should be? Better than at the top right of every page?
Sorry, Jo, but "really not looking" is totally untrue. It is difficult to find, even with directions from Nigel. Is there some overriding reason why it cannot be restored to its former position at the top of each locational page?
jeepers, david, its not that hard to find. I don't know what you mean by locational page but I see it at the top of every page in the Helpline, and it is referenced in each "sticky" at the top of the Helpline. How much more "top" do you want it? Are you navigating the pages on a non-standard size device? I see it fine on both my netbook and desktop PCs. Tim, following your previous comments, how do you think it would be better?
I'm with Jo and Nigel. The search box could not be more visible - and now it works! I can't imagine what the previous poster means about it not being on every "locational page" - I see it on every page, including when you are inside a thread.
Nigel, as I said, I'm not a web designer. But if there were two check boxes next to the search box, one labelled "Entire Site" and the other "Helpline", that would solve two situations: The application to the Helpline would be "called out" visibly, and the search could be forced to return ONLY Helpline results. (I'm overlooking whether you should have the option to search only "one" helpline, like "To the West.") In a typical newsboard, one of those boxes would likely be checked by default. It did take me several tries to find the box up on the blue background, but I don't intend to require some particular change to the site's templates or style sheets. There are many ways to solve any problem, and I'm not qualified to say what's best or cheapest. I have used a lot of newsboards, and this one is not particularly (mechanically) sophisticated. (And I've never gotten the italic and bold codes to work.) Instead of saying that, I said nice things about Rick providing it, because it doesn't make money. So I'm not inclined to whine. But in this case, you asked me for my opinion. Thank you.
Just as an experiment, I tried searching a number of common terms associated with the helpline. Even when I searched a term like "carryon bag", virtually every result was a link to a helpline post (one was a link to a "packing tips" part of the website). It didn't take me to where you buy bags. When I searched "Galway B&B", again it showed me result after result of links to helpline discussions, not where to buy a guidebook. I'm not sure why it would be necessary (or even better) to have to specify "helpline" when doing a search. It seems to be doing fine on its own.
Nancy, that wasn't my experience. I found about 20% results to the rest of the site. Note, please, that I didn't complain about that - after all, Rick pays for the operation of this site. Instead, I suggested a different approach. Incidentally, most newsboards offer the option of a date range, a poster's name, and so on, as well as which newsboard to search. Really regular users sometimes have enough information to do a really focused search, and it can save a lot of time when you know something about the old post you were looking for. In those cases, there's usually an abbreviated link next to the search box, saying "Advanced Search". But that's for the future ...
By directional pages I mean West, North, etc. I see community guidelines, frequently asked questions, I do not see search archives. It used to be at the top of the list of postings for each area. I do not see how to search archives. So, where is it?
Is it possible that some people have a different "view" on their computers? I'm finding the Search box in the upper right corner under the icons for facebook, etc. It seems to be on every page of this site and goes mostly to the helpline Q/A. I tested the new Search with a couple of searches. I looked for Naples Hotels and got many results, including one for Venice Hotels (oops?) Some of the entries come from the RS books, but most seem to refer to Helpline questions and answers. My only suggestion (to the Webmaster) is to add the date to entries on the search results so that those for 2011 show up before 2008. I would save search time to be able to eliminate older posts before finding current results.
david, Find where you sign in, above the stickies, etc. Then look above that and you see blue buttons all the way across. Then look up above that, above the yellow line. Then look just below the absolute top of the page, just under the facebook, youtube, twitter and a green button with an "h" on it that I don't recognize. See the two inch white box with the word "Search" in it, and a "Go!" button next to it? Type your search in the "Search" box and click the "Go!" button. Can you still not find it? It is in exactly the same position on every Helpline page, detail or what you call locational. As I asked earlier, are you using an unusual browser or device? Can you really not see it using your browser?
"And there's no capital investment required for a logical human interface ... on ... the ... web." Stop making the webmaster laugh. :) Seriously, this conversation is great to see. I'm glad that many of you have found it useful and I appreciate the comments about adjustments etc. Allow me to respond to some of them. The green "h" button that you don't recognize is Hulu. Watch Rick Steves shows for free online. :) The "Search Rick's Archives" link that David was referring to was a sticky post that explained how to use Google Advanced Search to find topics in our Helpline. This existed in the first place because our search bar was effectively broken. I removed it because it was no longer necessary. Our search bar inherently searches our Helpline archives. I don't disagree that the search bar could be placed so that it is in better view of Helpline users. Many people are used to search bars in the header here and on other sites (I must remind that the Search bar is for the entire site, not just the Helpline), but it can be easy to miss as it is not immediately placed in the prosession of where the eye navigate. It just so happens that most of the search returns are Helpline threads.
I hear you on the need for dates in the search results. That's a bit tricky at this point since the search was built for the whole site's web pages, most of which don't have dates involved/indexed. As a work-around, you might try adding i.e. the two digit number of the year you'd like to search within (i.e. '11' for 2011 threads). That seems to pick up on the date posted at the top of Helpline. This also picks up other results like the time stamp, the month of November, etc but it might help narrow your results. I'll keep this issue in mind, but there is no quick fix. I'll keep other suggestions in mind as well like the Advanced Search concept, checkboxes, etc. For power users looking for very focused results, Google Advanced Search is still the best tool on the web. I hope that helps. Enjoy your holidays! RS Webmaster