Best Practices and/or Examples of Search Results for Mixing Password Protected (members-only) content and Public Content

6 Nov 2009 - 12:30am
4 years ago
7 replies
1703 reads
Jerry Gennaria
2009

I'm interested if anyone has any thoughts (or examples) of mixing
password-protected (member-only) content and public content in search
results.

I have a couple of projects for associations serving a mixed audience
of members and the general public. Some articles/pages on the site are
available to the public and some are only available to members. One
thought we're exploring is allowing non-members to search the site
and see both public and private results, but only be able to click
through to public content. Private content might not have a link or
the link might connect to an explanation page (e.g. "you could see
this content if you were a member"). This way the search results are
complete and would serve as a sales tool.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
jerry

Comments

6 Nov 2009 - 2:58pm
Charles Boyung
2009

Jerry,

If you go to http://www.tasteofhome.com and search for butterscotch
bars, you can see what we did. The second actual result ("Gooey
Butterscotch Bars") is subscriber only (the admittedly ugly "plus"
sign next to the name). When you click on it, you are taken to a page
to subscribe or sign in if you are a subscriber. You can also link
your magazine subscription to your online account. You can use this
page to explain the benefits of becoming a member (probably better
than we did, but I wasn't in charge of the content on this site at
all). Or you can just use the page to explain that the content is
member-only, depending on your audience.

If you are going to show member only content in search results, you
need to clearly show them why they can't view it, and making it so
there is no link for those results doesn't do that. In fact, it is
probably more likely to lead to support issues, with users unable to
figure out why they can't view certain results. My advice is to
either not show the results that a user can't view, or give them a
page to explain the situation to them.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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6 Nov 2009 - 3:34pm
robenslin
2008

Hi Jerry,

Wall Street Journal (http://europe.wsj.com) present search results, which
are subscription based, using a small key icon display adjacent to the
result and a speech pop-up on hover. The user can see the standard search
detail and is permitted to read a short review before arriving at the
password 'gate'.

SERP example:
http://europe.wsj.com/public/search/page/3_0466.html?KEYWORDS=digital&mod=DNH_S
Screen grab: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2774/4081384610_588ce790f5_o.png

Hope that helps?

-- Rob

2009/11/5 Jerry Gennaria <jerry at gennaria.com>

> I'm interested if anyone has any thoughts (or examples) of mixing
> password-protected (member-only) content and public content in search
> results.
>
> I have a couple of projects for associations serving a mixed audience
> of members and the general public. Some articles/pages on the site are
> available to the public and some are only available to members. One
> thought we're exploring is allowing non-members to search the site
> and see both public and private results, but only be able to click
> through to public content. Private content might not have a link or
> the link might connect to an explanation page (e.g. "you could see
> this content if you were a member"). This way the search results are
> complete and would serve as a sales tool.
>
> Any thoughts?
>
> Thanks,
> jerry
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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--
/////////////////////////////
Rob Enslin
robenslin.com
twitter.com/robenslin
0759 052 8890
/////////////////////////////

6 Nov 2009 - 3:41pm
robenslin
2008

Sorry, that screen grab link doesn't work - try this one:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2774/4081384610_e33bc86c7c_o.png

-- Rob

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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6 Nov 2009 - 4:58pm
Harry Brignull
2004

It's a great idea to surface "teaser" content from behind your paywall so
(a) users can get a feel for what they'd be getting if they pay-up, and (b)
for SEO.

It's all about setting user expectations. Make sure the teaser content is
clearly marked, just like the screengrab rob posted from WSJ (in fact, you
could make it more prominent).

good luck

Harry

--
Dr. Harry Brignull
User Experience Consultant
http://www.90percentofeverything.com
+ 44 (0)7920 474784

On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 12:41 PM, Rob Enslin <robenslin at gmail.com> wrote:

> Sorry, that screen grab link doesn't work - try this one:
> http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2774/4081384610_e33bc86c7c_o.png
>
> -- Rob
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=47242
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

9 Nov 2009 - 12:32am
Uidude
2009

Hi Charles (and all)

In the gallery type search result page, I don't find the same plus
icon to identify that the same 'Gooey Butterscotch Bars' is a
subscriber only link.
I was wondering if that was left intentional that way for gallery
type search results or if there were any other reasons for the way it
is :)

I have read that the plus icon can mean different in different
context. In this case, it clearly shows the difference, but I liked
the key icon and its interaction in Rob's example more.

I would like to ask a continued question in this thread:
When user arrives at the subscription page after clicking through a
'only for members' link, showing 'Subscribers Visiting For The
First Time' info box first or 'Returning Subscribers Login Here'
FIRST is better? If the later seem more important to show first
(scanning left to right), does it mean that there are more users who
forget to log in to the website or there are less number of users
interested to subscribe as first-timers. Or is this a situation
similar to the OK, CANCEL positions?

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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9 Nov 2009 - 8:47pm
Amy Silvers
2007

I worked on a project with similar requirements, except that typically
there would be just a handful of search results available to the
public but hundreds available on the members-only site. The solution
I proposed (which the client decided not to implement) was to group
the public results together, then list out the first 10 or 20 results
from the members-only site with a lock icon. The list would be
preceded by copy explaining that these were results available on the
members-only site, along with a link to learn more about becoming a
member. There would also be an option to expand the
password-protected results, but the results themselves would not be
hyperlinked if the user was not logged into the site. It was a little
clunky, but I think it would have been effective.

The reason I went with that approach rather than the more
straightforward one shown in the WSJ screenshot was that membership
wasn't a single product or a straightforward process, and you
couldn't become a member online. Partly for that reason, the client
opted not to show the results from the member site at all, which
avoids any potential confusion but also misses an opportunity to sell
the benefits of membership.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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9 Nov 2009 - 9:34pm
Charles Boyung
2009

Shivan,

Good point about the gallery view - I'm guessing the designers just
left it off for look and feel purposes, not for any valid reason (I
wasn't involved in that aspect at all).

As for the plus icon, the reason we used that is purely for branding.
The site (and magazine) has used the concept of "Taste of Home
Plus" as additional web content for magazine subscribers. I
personally would have loved to use something more clear, like you
said, but again, it was purely a branding decision.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=47242

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