Inside Brightspot: Understanding the search results pane

Every so often, our Vice President of Product shares an email with the company that tells the background story on why Brightspot’s features are the way they are. Not one to keep secrets, we’re sharing her insights with you here, in a series called “Inside Brightspot.” From creating users and permissions to knowing the difference between different dashboard widgets, this series will answer the questions anyone who publishes digital content has likely pondered.

Let's go into detail on what a user will encounter in the Brightspot search results area. Again, when we talk about search in Brightspot, we think of it as three unique concepts: the search filters, the search actions, and the results. Read on to learn more about the capabilities that exist within the results set.

We'll assume that a user has input a search term, and focus on what can be accomplished next within the search results.

Search Result Views

To start, there are a few different visuals ways that search results can be presented. These are List, Grid, and Taxonomy.

Here's list view. By default, a user will see a set of results matching the input search term.

Brightspot search results for headless -- list view

Next, there is Grid view, which similarly shows results, but presents them more visually. Grid view is presented for multimedia content types such as Images, Videos and Galleries. Grid view also includes the ability to control the size of the thumbnail images by adjusting the slider between the - / + magnifying glasses. When working in Grid view, a user can also hover over the images to view more information about it, such as the update date, and what is displayed can be further customized to include things like caption and credit as well.

Brightspot search results - in grid view

Last but not least, there is Taxonomy view, which shows a tree representation of parent and child objects. Taxonomy view, therefore, is only available on content types that support those relationships, such as Sections and Tags.

Brightspot search results -- in taxonomy view

Sorts / Show / Pagination
Within each of the above search results views, Brightspot users have control over the sorts in which the results will display. The available sorts will vary by content type as well, but predominantly, these include Update Date (think of this as last updated, or the last time someone pressed the publish button), Publish Date (the first time something was published), and Page Views (driven by Brightspot's built-in analytics or another provider).

Users can also paginate through the search results and control how many results are displayed at a time—10 items, 20 items or 50 items—and pagination will follow that setting.

Custom Fields
This is a gem of a feature. In Search List view, there is an option called Show / Hide Fields, which allows users to customize the fields display in search results.

Once Show / Hide Fields is opened, users can select any field(s) from the selected content type. For example, if a user is filtering by Articles, the Show / Hide Fields can be used to also display Author, Section, Tags, Sub Headline, and Body.

Example of custom fields in article search

Which yields these results on Save:

Results of a custom search in Brightspot with Export selected

Show / Hide Fields allows a user to expose a wide swath of metadata directly in search results. Even better, those results can be exported into a .csv format, which can be shared with other team members. A common use case for search exports is during migration — it's a fast way to quickly validate that all fields that should have been populated with metadata have in fact been done so (and it becomes very obvious if the Author metadata was accidentally mapped to the Section metadata).

One of the most helpful fields that can be added to a search results is the number of references any asset has. This count informs users of how many other assets link to that given asset. It's helpful for housekeeping purposes. For example, an Image with 0 references isn't being used anywhere on the live website, so can safely be deleted or used for the first time in a new gallery. As you can see, the use cases that can be solved with the Show / Hide Fields are wide and varied.

image of Brightspot employee Meredith Rodkey
About the Author
Meredith Rodkey is VP of Platform Product Management & Solutions at Brightspot. She has focused on product management for nearly 10 years, contributing to major Brightspot engagements from U.S. News & World Report to Arizent and Healthgrades. In her previous life, Meredith worked as a homepage editor and writer for, curating a daily experience for millions of users.

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