Improving Public Access to Information for Fish and Marine Life

Our Process

NOAA Fisheries is the trusted government authority on fish and marine life in the United States. When the agency needed a new search engine, they tasked their digital service contractor Mobomo, a leading agency in government website development, to develop a replacement. When Mobomo reached out to us to help them develop this new feature, we were happy to help them.

Through our Freelance and Agency Support Services, we were able to help their team build an enterprise search engine using Apache Solr with Drupal 8. Using Acquia Cloud Search, our team worked with their designers, project managers, and stakeholders to develop a one-of-a-kind solution in just under a couple of months that got glowing reviews from the agency.

When figuring out how we were going to build the search engine, our team first took the time to dive through and analyze the data. Figuring out what people were searching for, what kind of information people were expecting, and asking what the experience should look like. 

In our discovery, we found that the client wanted a robust algorithm that can easily query 15,000+ documents and allow certain individuals to curate the results based on specific keywords. 

To do this, we developed a unique method called Search Phrases. Search Phrases was a custom field that allowed editors to add specific phrases that would boost the content to the top should the user use that exact phrase. Additionally, we built a custom scientific name mapper, allowing scientists and the general public to find information regardless of how it was entered easily. Along with synonym and acronym matching, not only did we deliver a solid product for Mobomo, but NOAA Fisheries user experience and satisfaction scores went up ten-fold. 

In the end, not only did we help improve access to public information, but we were able to deliver a high-quality product that all the parties enjoyed.