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Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

LookAhead – Dynamic Site Search and Navigation

 

SurfWax’s Site-Specific Search Tool

SurfWax, a Menlo Park based software developer, has introduced an anticipatory onsite search tool known as LookAhead that makes looking for and finding information on most websites much simpler.

Ask yourself a question. How often do you visit commercial, governmental, academic, or non-profit websites and get lost or lose focus when trying to find specific information? Now, how many website visitors lose interest or focus when trying to find specific information on your website?

LookAhead aids onsite searchers by creating a dropdown menu of words, phrases and terms relevant to site content as the searcher enters keywords into the site-search text box. As an example, Tom Holt, CEO of SurfWax created a demonstration by using the StepForth News homepage as his model.

When a site-visitor enters words or terms into the search text box, LookAhead’s dropdown menu expands to note all documents containing those words, phrases or terms. As the searcher types the full word or phrase, LookAhead eliminates potential references that no longer meet the searcher’s query. The result is a much more detailed view of the contents of a website than is possible using a text-based sitemap.

LookAhead is simple for users and very easy for webmasters to set-up on their sites. There is no software to install for webmasters or site visitors, as the entire package is web-based. A small snippet of code, approximately 12 lines long is inserted in the source-code of the search page by the site webmaster after creating the site’s lexicon of terms. Creating and populating the lexicon LookAhead draws from is a simple two-step process.

First a lexicon of terms is necessary. This lexicon can be created by importing a self-made file of these terms to LookAhead or by using LookAhead’s page crawler LexIt. When the lexicon is complete, it is imported to the LookAhead system and the webmaster is prompted to add the LookAhead code to the search-page of their site.

Once there, LookAhead makes the job of finding specific information much easier for site visitors. For more examples or information, please visit LookAhead or SurfWax .


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