Make shopfront search less sensitive to special characters

What is the need / problem ?

In French (and maybe other languages) we have a lot of products that are spelled with special characters:

  • épinard (spinach)
  • fève (broad bean)
  • Mâche (type of salad)
  • Chêvre (goat)
  • chou frisé (kale)
  • céleri (celery)
  • Maïs (corn)

When searching on mobile, french people don’t use these special characters.

As our traffic on mobile increases, we receive a lot of complaints from customers not able to find some products.

One example:

Who does it impact ?

All instances with special characters in their product names.


ping @sauloperez @lin_d_hop @Kirsten is there a way to make a papercut out of this one?

From @maikel on Slack:

Text search can be quite complicated but luckily our database supports it. It even looks like our database can be language aware so that the German plural “Bäume” would match the singular “Baum”. And since we implemented pagination and the search query is sent to the database, this should be relatively easy to do. It’s not a papercut. It could even be a medium sized task because we haven’t done this before but then the search would be awesome.

@rachel looks like its not a papercut.

@maikel do you have any quick thoughts on breaking this down into smaller, papercut sized pieces?

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Thank you @lin_d_hop I was searching for that quote and couldn’t find it again. I feel this is a small feature, so it will be difficult to compare it to bigger fish we have in the pipe.
If we can divide it in small pieces it would be nice. Even if it takes all FR papercuts for the next 6 months I’m in :smiley: Otherwise I guess it’s a good example to take into account when we review our processes.

No idea. It’s really just one part.

If this isn’t a papercut, I’d support it as a new ‘medium sized’ ? wishlist item to come forward when we next have pipe room (will we vote? or what will the process be - I’m not sure?) But as an instance with currently 2 languages, (and very likely to be adding indigenous languages in future), this is pretty important. And super important going forward as a global solution.