We’ve moved! Our homepage is now usasearch.howto.gov.

HowTo.gov is a website to help government workers deliver a better customer experience to citizens. HowTo.gov is managed by GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies and the Federal Web Managers Council, and is supported by other communities of practice. Search is an important aspect of customer experience so we’re happy be part of HowTo.gov.

Below are the release details for March and, as a reminder, we divide our work into three categories.

  1. Features: Things you actually notice.
  2. Chores: Back-end improvements that you don’t notice.
  3. Fixes: Fixes to any code issues that may arise.

Features for Agency Customers

  • Customers can add an optional header for the sidebar options on the results page.
  • Customers can add header and footer navigation on the results page by entering label and URL pairs.
  • Customer can toggle display of RSS feeds as a GovBox.
  • Customers who enter a YouTube handle automatically have a RSS feed created for their videos.
  • Customers see new Sidebar and Results Modules pages in the Admin Center.
  • Customers see Page Views page in the Admin Center to provide usage data on results page.
  • Customers are redirected from old URLs to new URLs.
  • Customers can access feature-specific help via the Admin Center.

Features for Searchers

  • Searchers see results from RSS feeds in a GovBox.
  • Searchers see logical links for image results.
  • Searchers see a GovBox for videos with a multimedia-friendly UI.
  • Searchers who don’t enter a query term on RSS-based results pages see results in reverse chronological order.
  • Searchers see results from all time when they click on RSS GovBox titles.
  • Searchers who modify their query (but don’t execute it) see results for their new query term when they click on a sidebar option.
  • Searchers see plain language text on the Spanish-language no results found page.


  • Revised the on-page Admin Center help text.
  • Increased speed of returning search results, especially for RSS feeds.
  • Implemented Spanish stop words.


  • No error page seen when searching across RSS feeds.
  • No error page seen when accessing RSS- or collection-based results pages from a mobile device.
  • Increased font size for title of RSS GovBox.
  • Fixed link so that clicking on Images on the results page stays within that site.
  • Improved handling of fetching HTML content for slower customer websites.
  • Removed ability to enter enter CSS or JavaScript tags in the managed header or footer fields.
  • Fixed Push Changes to trigger an email with header and footer changes.