[thelist] RE: Search Example Text in Search Box

Steven Streight vaspersthegrate at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 11 22:46:33 CST 2004

Pleeeeeeeze do NOT do this.

Don't put "search example text" in the text entry box
of your site search function gizmo.

I personally hate it. It is a barrier. Users have to
backspace the "hypothetical text" out of it before
they can enter actual text.

You revealed a usability weakness when you said "to
let users know they can search by actor or
director...but there is no navigation to actors or
directors, so it may confuse users."

Ta da. A usability problem of the most classic

By web convention established at high traffic sites,
site search text entry boxes are *empty*, not occupied
by "example" text.

Why doesn't the web site content text explain to users
that they can search site by film title, director
name, actor/actress name, whatever? Just say it, and
say it prominently, next to the search site box.

You know how it's not great idea to show users what
they can do by providing an example, with no
explanation. Sometimes both are good, but an example
with no explanation...this is not good.

Slightly OT--how can one "scroll" a text entry box?

I do it by placing cursor on far right edge of box
interior, and clicking.

Text entry boxes need scroll functions. None do, as
far as what I've seen. Scroll for corrections, or to
view user generated content within them.


Steven Streight
Web Usability Analyst/Content Writer

EMAIL: vaspersthegrate at yahoo.com

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