Behind the Scenes: New Search and Navigation

“Hello, I am having trouble finding my text sets.” 

“I have ‘favorited’ several articles. How do I find my list of favorites?”

“While there are aspects of Newsela that I truly like, when I go to the website there is no way to find the crosswords, text sets, etc.”

We receive hundreds of notes like these every week from passionate teachers who are engaging their students with Newsela in their classroom every day. Over the past few months, we’ve been collecting feedback and suggestions from our educator community and applying our design thinking on how to improve the discovery of relevant content on Newsela.

Today, we are excited to launch a modern and more powerful search and navigation tool that makes it easier find what you are looking for on Newsela.

With more than 1,600 differentiated articles and hundreds of teacher-created Text Sets, Newsela has become an essential tool for educators all over the world. But, until now, there’s never been an easy way to find all the Newsela resources available to teachers, students, and parents.

Better, More Relevant Search

As we went back to the drawing board, we thought deeply about how we could build a solution that would work across many different content types. By focusing our efforts on improving the search interface as well as the relevance of search results, we believed we could better connect teachers and students to the content they were looking for. 

We put search functionality front and center and designed it so that you instantly start seeing results as you start your search. In addition, we redesigned how we display relevant results so you can easily find what you are looking for at a glance. We also added advanced search functionality to help you further narrow your search if you needed to.


In addition to improving the search bar, we also expanded search functionality to surface Text Sets, one of our most popular features, as well as content from our Learning and Support section. 


Simpler Navigation

As we tackled site navigation redesign, we spent a lot of time thinking about how to balance functional needs like “teachers will want to find x” or “students will need quick access to y” while making sure our product design stayed modern and current.

One of the first things we realized is that we placed too much emphasis on content “categories” while providing no real estate for other important content types like Text Sets.

To solve for this, we focused on removing friction from our navigation experience. With this update, navigating Newsela takes less space while doing more. The new design surfaces more content without being tied to a specific category paradigm. Relevant content is now a click away, and you can now browse curated content from our Editors as well as most loved articles. 


To learn more about our new search and navigation, visit our Learning and Support center

Brian James is the Director of User Experience at Newsela. For over 10 years he has designed user experiences for numerous interactive agencies and startups in San Francisco and New York. His work has been written about in the New York Times, Mashable, Business Insider, ESPN, Bloomberg, Forbes and Yahoo Finance.