How my team moved Search from the #1 to #7 challenge to solve, without changing relevance

Stéphane Renault • Location: TUECHTIG • Back to Haystack EU 2023

The talk aims to illustrate how relevance and ranking are not always the best way to improve search. Drawing from my experience at Front, where search was the number # 1 problem to solve (2 years in the top position), I’ll illustrate how reducing complexity and friction was the most pragmatic approach with a team of 4 engineers, operating in a high-scale environment (millions of queries a week). Based on my experience working as a search product manager at Front, a customer operation platform, and Algolia, a search API solution, I will share my learnings on how to identify the critical problems to solve by mapping the user journey and frictions, prioritizing, defining a success metric in a non-transactional context, convincing frustrated stakeholders, and reducing the time to impact through experimentation. This presentation will include the methodology used and the solutions we put in place.

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Stéphane Renault


Stéphane is a senior product manager with 4 years of experience in Search. He’s currently in charge of Search and Analytics at Front (a B2B SaaS company streamlining communication using the familiarity of email and the efficiency of help desks). Before that he worked at Algolia (a B2B SaaS company offering a set of APIs to build search & discovery experiences) as the search platform PM. There he solved the largest company gap by implementing a new sorting algorithm combined with a new type of index (virtual replicas).