Simplifying searches with templates

We aim to make our core product MasterVision as easy to use as possible, whilst still enabling users to perform complex tasks to get the most out of their customer data. We currently offer two types of search to support this – a ‘simple’ forms based search including radio buttons, dropdowns, and multipick options, and an ‘advanced’ search allowing more technical users to create free text queries for maximum flexibility.

Whilst both of these approaches work well, it’s become clear to us from user feedback that some middle ground would be handy. Often, users wish to create a complex search and then re-run it several times with just a few minor changes – for example, changing ‘Country’ or ‘Date’ fields to create a series of targeted segments. In other cases, less technical users may wish to tailor a pre-saved search to their own requirements without needing to worry about editing the underlying query.

This is where our new feature ‘search templates’ comes in! The concept is simple – a templated search can be based on any free text query, but with certain fields only being nominated as changeable. The changeable fields can then be presented via a user-friendly form, with the full search query sitting ‘behind’ it and ready to be run once the user has made their selections.

For example, the following search query might find individuals affiliated to UK institutions who were sent a ‘Renewals’ campaign last year:

CHILD_OF(
‘Contact Type’ = “Institution”
AND ‘Country’ = “United Kingdom”
)
AND [
‘Contact Type’ = “Individual”
AND ‘Campaigns:Campaign Name’ = “Renewals”
AND ‘Campaigns:Sent date’ = “2013*”
]

Applying the principles outlined above, we could make the ‘Country’, ‘Campaign Name’ and ‘Sent date’ fields changeable (highlighted), creating a search template which might then appear as follows:

search_templates

We can now see that our nominated fields are easily changed, allowing the creation of flexible variants on the original search. This template could be used both by its owner, and shared for use by other users who would not need to worry about re-creating the underlying search query each time.

We will be releasing this soon as a free product feature and look forward to feedback from users, since we think it will make searching in MasterVision even easier and more user-friendly than currently.

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