CVTC - Funnelback Search Integration

With development guidance and best practices from High Monkey, Chippewa Valley Technical College was able to leverage their Kentico CMS for their public website to provide information to students, prospective students, parents, alumni, and other target audiences. High Monkey completed the CVTC website project in Summer of 2015 and was later approached by the CVTC team to help with the College's search.

Background

Part of the Wisconsin Technical College System, Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) , serves an 11- county area and approximately 13,000 students every year. CVTC is one of 16 WTCS colleges located throughout the state. The College’s largest campus is located in Eau Claire with major regional centers in Chippewa Falls, Menomonie, Neillsville, and River Falls. CVTC offers a wide variety of programs, certificates, and apprenticeships ranging from Accounting, to Farm Operation, to Welding. 

Goals

 
User-friendly interface
Easily modifiable search results
Provide valuable analytics
Improve UX of search
Integrate Funnelback into Kentico CMS



CVTC approached High Monkey in the Fall of 2016 with a problem: the search function on their website was highly technical and therefore very difficult to manage. A primary goal of this project was to create and focus on a user-friendly interface and easily modifiable search results. They also needed High Monkey to effectively integrate Funnelback into their existing Kentico Content Management System while retaining all functionality of Funnelback. Their end-goal was to improve the CVTC website's search results and provide valuable analytics across the site while improving the overall user experience of search.


“The old search platform for our public website was difficult for our Marketing staff to use and required a high level of technical ability to control the search results. Knowing we were struggling with our current system, High Monkey suggested Funnelback. This platform delivered on everything we wanted from a search engine and more. It provides a user-friendly marketing console allowing our team to quickly and easily modify search results, full flexibility in configuration and customization of search collections, and, as an added bonus, a robust accessibility check which will allow us to improve the content and convenience of our sites.

From setting up the original demonstrations to organizing the Funnelback trainings, High Monkey was fantastic to work with. Having worked with them on several other projects, they were familiar with our systems and frustrations, and could provide solutions tailored to our needs. The integration was seamless between our Kentico9 environment and Funnelback. High Monkey’s team worked with our Digital Marketing team to ensure all elements were configured properly and the launch went smoothly.


Since launching Funnelback on our public website, we have been able to make several changes and refinements to our results for optimal user experience. We are planning on configuring another collection for a supporting CVTC website and, through the excellent training by High Monkey and Funnelback, feel fully equipped to deploy this next phase of the project. We are excited to continue to improve upon the user experience of our Funnelback service and utilize the software on more of our web applications.”


Sara Pertz
Digital Marketing Manager, Chippewa Valley Technical College

platform

Funnelback

project type

Public Website

case study

Learn More

challenges


Some of the Challenges the CVTC and High Monkey teams faced included: 

  • Retaining the functionality of Funnelback throughout the integration process
  • Ensuring the aesthetic was similar to the existing CVTC site, and stayed consistent from search to site
  • Modifying search results to display custom metadata fields in 'Additional information' such as: dates, news items, and related programs or certificates
  • Mimicking the many blocks of content on CVTC site to pull up "Best of"/Featured results

solution

High Monkey provided a solution approach that addressed all of CVTC's search needs that included the following steps:

  • Build using Kentico API to push content into Funnelback
  • Create custom Kentico CMS web part to pull in Funnelback search page and its functionality
  • Set up of auditing system to monitor content
  • Modify existing search results
  • Create custom metadata fields to create facet navigations to filter and narrow down search results

Kentico Integration

To integrate Funnelback with Kentico’s Content Management System, High Monkey’s team developed custom web parts to crawl the necessary content and display search results on the CVTC website, www.cvtc.edu
 

Custom Response

The custom response web part allows data stored in the Kentico database as pages to be output as XML or JSON REST API Feeds. Unlike the out-of-the-box Kentico REST API, these custom feeds integrate with additional metadata schemes setup in the CMS which when delivered can provide search visitors with a much richer contextual navigation process. Each deployed webpart can be configured to provide a specific set of data based on the types of content used in the creation of the CVTC website pages.
 

Search Display

The search display web part pulls in the search results from the Funnelback system based on visitor searches. This integration allows for full utilization of the comprehensive results display templating from Funnelback while seamlessly displaying in the Kentico website.
 


CVTC Search ScreenshotCVTC Search Screenshot Example