Surface pages in search results

A lot of our process guides are split into sub-documents, one per page. So for example we might have a commonly referenced page in our corporate handbook doc “Reimbursement policy” with a recognizable icon, but if you search “Reimbursement policy” in Coda’s “Search all docs” feature, you get (among other results) the generic “Corporate Handbook” doc title and icon.

Showing pages – with their titles and icons – as results directly in Search would make it much easier to find content in Coda, and easier to navigate and orient team members to a knowledge base or repository of multi-page guides and documents.

Our team’s top complaint about Coda is still “Search doesn’t work” and it’s primarily because of this issue, so I’d like to follow up on this with a bit more context.

In Aug 2020, @AlanFang posted a great overview of the then-new improvements to search in Coda. These changes made it possible to search for a page by title, but they did not make it clear when you had successfully found a page by title. Alan pointed this limitation out in his overview then:

Note: In some cases, you may see a doc in the search results with no highlighted match. In these cases, the match is a page title.

This has the following effect:

  1. User wants to find the page “Artemis Roadmap”
  2. Type artemis roadmap into search
  3. The desired result does not seem like it contains the term “Artemis Roadmap”, even though they know for a fact there is a commonly referenced page with this title
  4. Instead of clicking on the desired page, user clicks on something else or second-guesses their search term

This has been undermining our team’s faith in Coda as a place you can put findable information.

Proposed Solution

While it would be great if the top-level search result’s title was the page title and it’s icon, it would still help a lot if the search result text contained something like “Page: Artemis Roadmap” highlighted. Right now correct page title search results look like they’re irrelevant.

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Now that Coda 3.0 has launched and there may be some planning of what improvements to take on next, I figured I’d take another stab at illustrating this problem where pages are hard to find in search, and what a potential fix could be.

I also wanted to ask: given that there haven’t been any replies to this thread, are we the only ones using Coda instead of something like Notion for company handbooks, process guides, and the like?

I don’t see how not being able to find topics within a doc isn’t frustrating many other Codans. Why write a page if nobody can find it? Are people doing a single-page Doc for every important page maybe? Or creating some kind of “pointer” doc to help people find important pages?

Or are teams that want to build guides and handbooks like this for their team choosing Notion instead, self-selecting the population of Coda users to mostly care about tables rather than team-facing written docs like these? :thinking:

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