Espresso Search

This project centred on improving the search experience on Espresso’s digital service for primary schools.


Interviews, sketching, user journeys, wireframes, low-fidelity prototypes, high-fidelity prototypes, user testing, Balsamiq Mockups, Agile.


Espresso’s search facility had been a sore point for years. Our aim was to improve the discoverability of content with a vastly improved search that met modern standards and used a responsive design.
A search page suitable for primary schools
Just some of the approaches to the taxonomy that we considered. We took these to teachers to understand how they looked for content, before developing the top two (those which closely matched the teachers' mental models and use cases) for usability testing.
Information architecture
We analysed the various options for the taxonomy in detail, and their effects on the search experience of different types of user.
Pros and cons
The user journey as they drill down through the subject facet.
User journey
We were keen to inject the Espresso personality into the page by using our set of cartoon characters in otherwise vacant space. Each time the page loads, a different character can be seen, looking as though they’re searching for something. Details such as these were always a hit with the kids.
We considered loading only the first 500 results, for speed, but then how would we handle the page numbering, and the ability to search within the results?
Data loading behaviours
Another option we considered was to load the first 500 results before displaying the page, and then load the remaining results in the background.
Lazy-loading data
At this size, the search within feature is dropped, and the facets can be hidden entirely.
The tablet experience
The approach on phones is similar to the tablet-size experience, except that the facet and filters menu now covers the screen. To save the user opening and closing the facets, which they now can't easily glance at, we show what they've selected even when the facet is closed.
The experience on phones