KDE Search Widget

Ingo Klöcker kloecker at kde.org
Sat Jan 22 12:53:50 GMT 2005

On Thursday 20 January 2005 22:44, Benjamin Meyer wrote:
> On Wednesday 19 January 2005 5:41 pm, Ingo Klöcker wrote:
> > On Wednesday 19 January 2005 03:51, Benjamin Meyer wrote:
> > > Here is an idea for a search widget.  The KSearch widget contains
> > > two widgets, the clear button and the combo box.  The combo box
> > > supports the ability to list different searches or sub searches
> > > which the user can choose by clicking on the icon.
> > >
> > > The search on the left doesn't have a menu when you click on the
> > > image while the right does.
> > > http://www.icefox.net/kde/ksearch/ksearch.png
> > >
> > > Source and demo application
> > > http://www.icefox.net/kde/ksearch/ksearch.tar.bz2
> > >
> > > So for example KMail rather then having a whole Quick Search line
> > > would just have this one widget in the toolbar.  Rather then
> > > having a Status drop down box it there would be a dropdown when
> > > you click on the search image allowing you to specify a specific
> > > quick search. Clean, takes up not much space and is easy to
> > > recognize.
> >
> > I don't see any advantage over KMail's current Quick Search. In
> > fact I only see disadvantages. Remove the "Search:" label? Why?
> Because there is a search image.  Why take up all the room of a word
> when you can use an image which is easier to recognize by a scan of
> the screen?  Also the search is suppost to always be on the screen
> (i.e. the point off a quick search) so you don't want it taking up
> much room, removing the word saves some space.

How many characters do you type in KMail's search? My maximum was well 
below 10 characters. So the space the "Search:" label uses is 
completely irrelevant because here the search line edit is wider than 
40em. I don't think using a tiny icon instead of a text label will 
improve usability.

> > And what if somebody wants two dropdowns additionally to the line
> > edit?
> Getting kind far away from the whole "Quick" search idea don't you
> think?  99% of the time the user wont even bother with any dropdowns
> that are present today.

Yeah, right. Did you make a study about this? Or are you just making up 
those numbers? I refuse to make up any numbers. Therefore, all I can 
say is that I use the Status drop down in KMail far more often than the 
Search line edit. I have to admit that my searching for New/Unread is 
mostly due to the fact that KMail still sorts threads by the date of 
the thread root instead of by the date of the newest message in the 
thread. But I also quite often look for important messages.

> If way to many of the people who search the 
> billions of documents using Google only put in 1 word what makes you
> think they will do any more then that for some application with their
> 1000 photos?  If you have more then one drop down then you start
> turning into a full featured search dialog and if a user is going to
> go through that effort why not  just pull up the real search dialog? 

Okay, I agree. I withdraw my comment about two dropdowns.

> A far better choice is what Juk did and on the right hand side have a
> button for the real search dialog.
> > Hide the Status drop down inside the search?  Who is going to find
> > it there?
> That goes with a few different ideas.
> One: this is a quick search.  It should be present all the time by
> default and thus take up the smallest amount of room on the screen.

"Yes" to the former, "Not necessarily" to the latter. I have a serious 
problem with your proposal to put the quick search in the toolbar. The 
problem is that currently the placement of the quick search in 
KMail/JuK (directly above the message/song list) makes it immediately 
clear to the user that the quick search influences the list view. The 
quick search in Konqueror OTOH is something fundamentally different 
because it doesn't influence the view. Instead it initiates a search on 
the web. So we are in fact talking about two completely different 
- The quick search in Konqueror.
- The quick search in KMail/JuK which is more a view filter than a 

Another quick search is in KAddressBook. It's also a view filter. It 
consists of a lineedit + a "where to search in" dropdown (which is 
superfluous IMO) + a "Filter" dropdown (which makes it easy to filter 
for categories and is very useful IMO). Hmm, in fact KAddressBook 
doesn't even seem to have an advanced search dialog. I guess that's why 
there's this "where to search in" dropdown.

> Two: The majority of users, the majority of the time wont filter
> their search even when it is in front of their face, but will just
> keep putting in one word searches until they find what they want (or
> maybe even _two_ words). The status/filter/etc options are advanced
> search options...

The status option might be an advanced search option but (based on 
personal experience) it's far too useful to be removed.

> Granted if this was to be used on one application it is kinda silly
> to do that as most users wouldn't know about it.  But if it was used
> as the basis for all the search widgets in the majority of
> applications then advanced users would quickly know that if they want
> options that is where it is and for the rest of the world, they
> wouldn't care.
> The key idea is that it is a quick search.  It should always be
> present, easy to use and take up little to no room on the screen.  If
> I was able to figure out how to get the Clear button inside the line
> edit I would advocate that, as it is simpler.

Can you post a screenshot of this? I can't imagine how a clear button 
inside a combobox lineedit with an icon on the left can be anything but 

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