[thelist] RE: Search Example Text in Search Box

Pavel Dudrenov dudrenov at gmail.com
Sat Dec 11 23:36:00 CST 2004

I kind of read over this email quickly and maybe I am giving the wrong
info here. But here it gous anyway.
Why cant you just use simple javascript for the search..... you know
onblur - onfocus?
example: <input  name="search"  accesskey="s"  value="beer"
onblur="if(this.value=='') this.value='beer';"
onfocus="if(this.value=='beer') this.value='';" type="text"
Will take care of the problem with the bakcspace completely. The other
thing if you could do if you want to explain to your users how to use
your search is to make a div with style="display: none" with all the
info that users need in it and then have link next to your search
which says "need help?" or something like that and then have a simple
javascript that will change styles from none to block on the div. Good
idea would be to float it and possition it and also get the mouse x
and y position so when you click on the link the little
window/box/popup/layer/whatever you want to call it shows up right
next to the mouse button. Script example:
var myDiv = null;

function doIt(divName, e)
   	posx = e.clientX + "px";
	posy = e.clientY + "px";
	if(myDiv != null)
		document.getElementById(myDiv).style.display = "none";
	curDiv = divName;
	document.getElementById(myDiv).style.left = posx;
	document.getElementById(myDiv).style.top = posy;
	document.getElementById(myDiv).style.display = "block";

Ohh ya you would need to make one more fucntion for closing/hiding the div

Hope that helps and that it's not way off -topic.

Al the best,

On Sat, 11 Dec 2004 20:46:33 -0800 (PST), Steven Streight
<vaspersthegrate at yahoo.com> wrote:
> 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
> variety.
> 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
> http://www.vaspersthegrate.blogspot.com
> http://www.streightsite.blogspot.com
> http://www.arttestexplosion.blogspot.com
> EMAIL: vaspersthegrate at yahoo.com
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