September 15, 2005

Spelling standards

Writing about web page

I've just been testing the Warwick Search engine and was a bit disappointed that when I typed Skills, Warwick Skills Programmes only reached number 21, whereas if I typed Skills Programmes it came up as top of the list…

Whilst I was doing this I spotted the Search statistics (the mathematician in me gets excited about things like this) and was amused by some of the data it produced.

For example – the quality of spelling in prospective Undergraduates:

July 2005
Top 100 searches
… 575 for 'accomodation'...488 for 'accommodation'

Noting that there were more searches for the incorrect spelling of accommodation (assuming that these are 6th Formers accepted to Warwick visiting the accommodation website choosing their accommodation)

However, the stats for August (assuming these are people who got their predicted grades for Warwick and wanted to know what accommodation they were offered) show:
1,210 for 'accommodation' (no stats for the 'accomodation' version), but 80 for 'accomadation'


- 3 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. John Dale

    Ah, that's my fault, I'm afraid. Although the fact that some people can't spell accommodation is mildly amusing, I didn't think it was helpful on the statistics page to show accommodation, accomodation acommodation and acomodation separately so I merged them into one result (for the correct spelling). What we really care about knowing is how many people are searching for accommodation using our web site, not how many of them know how to spell. But my merging work is as yet incomplete.

    As for skills not returning the skills home page at the top of the list, I agree that this isn't ideal. Fortunately we can tell the search engine to do better in this area, so from tomorrow, the skills home page will be at the top of the list.

    As an aside, it's not worth spending time trying to get your pages higher up the rankings of the existing search engine, because we'll be replacing it this year, after which time the results may well be ordered entirely differently.

    15 Sep 2005, 13:51

  2. Mathew Mannion

    I search for "accomodation" and try to email accomodation@warwick all the time :( That makes me some kind of cretin, or something

    15 Sep 2005, 13:57

  3. John Dale

    Mmm. Fortunately for you, and people like you, we've fine-tuned the search engine so that it knows that people who type any of the mis-spellings of accommodation really mean the correct spelling, and return them the same result that we do if you spell it correctly.

    15 Sep 2005, 14:09

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