increasing the usability of search dialogs

Luciano Montanaro mikelima at
Mon May 15 15:14:08 BST 2006

On Monday 15 May 2006 09:05, Thomas Zander wrote:
> On Saturday 13 May 2006 10:15, Marc Schoechlin wrote:
> > mozilla-firefox is not in general a masterpiece of usability - but I
> > really like the search-dialog of this program :-)
> I do remember a thread on kde-usability showing how badly this 'dialog'
> of firefox actually performed in the real world.  Its nice for
> developers, but most people didn't get it.

I think I started that thread... I still think people *do* get it 
eventually. Especially if it's used pervasively. It has a steeper learning 
curve, but it has its advantages. And since it has been in firefox (and 
konqueror) for a while, there may be users who could prefer to use the same 
interface elsewhere. 

Actually, API wise, the windowed panel and the docked panel should not need 
to differ. And we don't really want both the "Find" and er.. "QuickFind" 
item in the menus. So, if the windowed interface is to be mantained, I'm 
afraid the user will have to make the choice through a global option.

By the way, I understand to a point the aversion for more global options, 
but if with a number of global options we could reduce the overall number 
of settings, wouldn't it be an improvement, on the whole? 

> > Positive aspects of the firefox search dialog compared to the common
> > look of a search-dialog in kde:
> >
> > - It does not use a separate search-window. This is very useful
> >   because in most cases the first action after entering a
> >   search-pattern is to relocate the search dialog to a position
> >   which doesn`t overlap the text-block which should be examined.
> > - It supports "highlighting" of matches.
> >   In my point of view this is very user-friendly, because this
> >   eases the user`s eyes to identify matching strings.
> Funny you point those out as different to KDE since in KDE those things
> certainly are already solved.

Well, we could say it's solved for konqueror, but the implementation is not 
as good as the firefox one: it's hardly discoverable (you have to know the 
shortcut, which is not in the menu), and the feature activation is not even 
as evident as the firefox implementation. 

Oh, there is also KPDF that has a similar feature. Again different 
implementation. This one has the advantage that the search box is somewhat 
more evident. 

In the end, we have at least three UIs for the same basiv feature, each one 
with different limitations and highlights. 


Łŭčīåñø Montanaro //
              \\ //

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