[Theforum] quick thought on our search boxes

.jeff jeff at members.evolt.org
Sat Jan 12 13:48:20 CST 2002


> From: rudy
> i'm not jeff -- obviously (who is?) -- but yes

ditto for you too buddy.  ;)

> jeff, what did you mean by "right now each of the search
> forms points to a different spot on the website"?

right now the articles search form has an action of:


the comments search form has an action of:


and the user search form has, you guessed it, an action of:


> just change all the search forms to a common one, and
> have its action page simply detect the search type, and
> cflocate or whatever to the appropriate current search
> page...
> no?

sure, but a cflocation just to get to the right search form?  sounds like a
hack.  something of this nature would be better addressed in a new redesign
where it can be accounted for while the underlying architecture of the site
is being designed.

> also, sorry jeff, no offence, but i think i disagree
> with your other idea --
> > we shouldn't need to specify whether we want to search
> > users, articles, comments, tips, whatever. the search
> > should automatically just search them all and return
> > results.
> i would think having the option would be a good, almost
> necessary thing

step back for a second and think about what that search box is for -- a
quick search.  right now there aren't options like restricting the search to
a certain category for articles.  that's reserved for the advanced page.

i think having the simple search box look at everything would be the best
idea.  if the user gets too many results, they can then alter the search
alittle from that results page to get results from only those sources they
want them from.

> if i'm after a particular article, for example, i would
> hate to have users, comments, tips, whatever, cluttering
> up the search results

i think that's only because you only understand the difference.  many other
users, including those taking the survey, have commented that the article
search should search comments as well because they can't recall if the bit
they remember about the article was in the article or in a comment on the

> but rather than radio buttons, let's use a dropdown list
> with the "multiple" attribute -- takes up less room, is
> expandable, and checkboxes (to allow multiple choice)
> are way harder to code for

i don't like the idea of using a select with the multiple option.  many
people, including some web developers don't know how to use them.
additionally it requires using the keyboard in addition to the mouse.

checkboxes to allow multiple choice aren't difficult to code for at all,
ime.  in fact, from a server-side perspective i have to code for a
multi-select the same way i have to code for multiple choice checkboxes.

the other thing to consider with an all-in-one search is that the results
for each type currently have a slightly different display, purposely
designed to suit the type of information being searched and the type of
information being returned in the query results.  it could be very
interesting to try to merge them all in to a single useful interface.

here's an interim idea, how about a link from the articles search that
allows you to perform the same keyword(s) search on comments or users?  the
same could be done for comments and users as well.  this would be akin to
the links at the bottom of search results on google.com that say "try this
search on excite", "try this search on yahoo", "try this search on
altavista", etc.


jeff at members.evolt.org

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