Today at Noodle
It has been a good day at the Noodle offices today. A long day, after a long month, but a good day.
About a month ago, we set out to dramatically improve our two most trafficked and visible “verticals,” the word we use to refer to the different education sectors we operate in. Our K-12 and College products needed, and will continue to need, some improvements. Our users, and all of us at Noodle, were not happy with the quantity of the information we presented, the quality of the information we did present, the look and feel of how we displayed that information. On top of this, we wanted to make sure any new work to organize and display information on K-12 schools and Colleges would be reflected in our search functionality - we needed to update our search to account for and utilize the work we were going to put into improving data around the site. This was, and will continue to be, no small project. The goal of improving this information, and our ability to provide intuitive search connected to this information, will be a constant for our product goals. However, we thought we could make some serious headway in April and deliver a lot more value for our users.
The verdict, of course, is out until we are able to test and collect user feedback. But we are still proud of the work we did. Our college profiles now have serious information on the areas of study offered at a school. What previously was a lackluster “Tuition” tab on our College profiles is now an expanded “Finance” tab with not just generic information on tuition, the sticker price, but financial aid, grant, and school expenditure information. With our K-12 schools, we fixed data reporting problems for schools of a specific religious affiliation or single sex student bodies. On our public school pages, we had significant information on districts, but our users had trouble understanding this in context of school specific information so we built out a whole new tab, across the board, for this district information. In the near future we hope to add much more, but we think this is a good start.
In addition, our College search underwent significant revision:
- We updated our algorithm, improving the accuracy with which we determine whether or not a college is a good fit academically, socially, and culturally for a student.
- The questions in our recommendation engine were reordered to better align with a user’s priority as they searched colleges.
There is a lot more work to be done, but we made a lot of important headway in April. Updating over 100,000 K-12 pages, 2,500 college pages, and overhauling the logic behind our College search is no small task, especially for a team that is accustomed to daily, continuous deployments of code in small(er) batches.
On top of all this, Rip Empson wrote up a nice piece on Noodle for TechCrunch. We have some big goals with a team and product, while in progress, that we know will get us to them - it’s awesome to see an audience taking notice.
-Alex Bargmann, Product Associate