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- Content .- Fans (1) . 

TBC - Searchable menus

   1  

KDE4 Brainstorm

Score 78%
TBC - Searchable menus
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TBC - Searchable menus
zoom


TBC - Searchable menus
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Link:  Link
Downloads:  119
Submitted:  Feb 22 2007
Updated:  Feb 24 2007

Description:

When a user searches for a function, there are two possible scenarios:

1. The user knows the function by name and needs to find it in the program (ie, indent a block of text)
2. The user can't textualize what they are looking for, or is just exploring the features available

Adding a search to the menu only helps with item 1. Many times I find that I know what I want to do, I just don't know where it is in the menu.. When the menus have hundreds of items, looking for what I want can take a long time. So we add a search field beside the menu items. Pretty obvious, pretty simple, and this concept has already been done for "Start" menus in many desktops. The whole thing can be explained in two images. Here's a mockup.

The search field is accessed with a keyboard shortcut, and the results show up in a list below it. Esc clears the text and cancels focus, enter selects the highlighted tool. Arrow keys to select from the items in the list.

We don't have to display the search box all the time. It can either be replaced with an icon, or be completely invisible, and just appear when the user hits the keyboard shortcut for it.




Changelog:

Added screenshot 3 based on suggestion by Ekardam to replace the search bar in the menu with just an icon for less visual clutter. Yes I know the icon sucks. Forget about that for now.

Updated screenshot 2 to include name of menu group for those who want to use it just for finding stuff.




LicenseGPL
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 not so simple

 
 by gruszek on: Feb 22 2007
 
Score 50%

This way user will not know the location of selected menu item even after he use it (from the search engine).
I think that traditional way of finding what you need is good enough: use F1 for help or "RTFM" (not all, just ctrl+f) :-)
...And yes, I know that it has disadvantages - help files usually load slowly and distract you from your job :/
But there's advantages too: you can find out some new features of your software by the way of finding something.


PLD rulez :D
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 Re: not so simple

 
 by leos on: Feb 22 2007
 
Score 50%

The point of this is not that users will find things in the menu so they can go to the menu the next time. This should be faster than going into the menu with the mouse, even if you know where the item that you are looking for is. You never have to take your hands off the keyboard to access menu items, and you don't have to memorize any keyboard shortcuts.


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 Re: Re: not so simple

 
 by leos on: Feb 22 2007
 
Score 50%

That said, I updated the screenshot to satisfy you :)


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 Re: Re: not so simple

 
 by gruszek on: Feb 24 2007
 
Score 50%

well, this seems OK to me :-) maybe I've read description too fast last time ;)


PLD rulez :D
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 Feedback

 
 by Ekardnam on: Feb 23 2007
 
Score 50%

As I wrote on the mailing list, I think feedback from the menu bar would be nicer. Showing things like "Edit > Cut" is too much information IMHO, then I would rather see the keyboard shortcut.

The feedback is simple and similar to Mac OS X; when pressing a shortcut key, or using this search bar, the menu text (if you use "Cut", it would be "Edit" in the menu bar) flickers. There was an example on the Appeal project's homepage.

If you used a keyboard shortcut, you'll se that the action actually has been executed. In this case, where you used this seach bar, you would know the location of the action in the menus. I don't know if "flicker" is a good way to describe it, but I hope you understand.


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 Re: Feedback

 
 by leos on: Feb 23 2007
 
Score 50%

Yes, I see your point, would be a worthwhile feature for sure. Like you say, I would rather not see the menu group in the search results either.

This should be fairly easily doable.. I'll have a look at the code to see where the shortcut handling code is in Qt and if we can easily be notified of shortcuts being pressed in the menu.

For this search function, it should be possible to modify the KMenu class, thus giving this feature to all KDE apps. I figure either each app can make a decision whether they want to show/enable the feature. It makes more sense for large, complex programs. For example, kopete will probably not show the search box.


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 Re: Re: Feedback

 
 by Ekardnam on: Feb 23 2007
 
Score 50%

A mockup I made:
http://img460.imageshack.us/img460/2145/mockupmenuck5.png

I replaced the search field in the menu bar with an icon in toolbar.
I wrote about this on the mailing list too. I think the menu bar isn't a good place to have this text bar, it looks cluttered and "out of place".

My thought is to have a normal toolbar item instead; you can even remove it if you don't like it.
Once you click the icon/press shortcut keys (you probably would prefer the last one), it'll show the search field.

Maybe it could also list some (let's say 5) common used actions/actions you recently searched for if the search field is empty. Just a thought.

Begin to type (the text field has focus when the list show up), and you'll see the result. Use down/up arrow keys to browse the results, return to execute (the menu bar will show feedback).

Please note the following things:
  • The icon in the mockup isn't very good. No, it's very bad.
    This button is more like a "more" (>>) button that lists the actions you probably can't see in the toolbar. It just happen to have a search function.

  • Once again, you can assign a shortcut key to show the search field and list. No mouse needed!

  • The list shows the shortcut keys in this mockup. I don't know if it's goof or bad; please discuss!


  • Hope you liked it.


    Reply to this

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     Re: Re: Re: Feedback

     
     by leos on: Feb 23 2007
     
    Score 50%

    Nice mockup! Certainly better than my kolourpaint hackjob :)

    You've convinced me that showing the search bar all the time is a bad idea in the menu bar. Too cluttered looking. I will update my mockup soon with this idea.

    However, I would still like to put the icon in the menu bar. This separates it from the other icons in the toolbar and makes it clear that you are searching the whole menu. Also, by its placement it becomes more prominent, otherwise it is just another toolbar icon (which we are trying to cut down on in KDE4).


    Reply to this

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     Re: Re: Re: Re: Feed

     
     by Ekardnam on: Feb 24 2007
     
    Score 50%

    Thank you for your kind words. :)

    >> However, I would still like to put the icon in the menu bar.

    I thought that an icon in the menu bar would look strange too. But I think I was wrong, Firefox for example has this icon that shows if a page is loading in the menu bar.
    However, usability wise, wouldn't it be dangerous to place if where for example the Firefox icon I mentioned is? It would be dangerous close to close button on the window decoration. And there are users out there who would use the mouse to search.

    Another topic: Do you have any ideas what the icons should look like? Maybe we should just leave it to the artists...
    Also, what did you think about showing the shortcut keys in the results? I have thought about it further, and right now I think I'm positive.

    Showing last searches/most common searched if you haven't typed anything in the search field, do you think it's a good idea?


    Reply to this

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     Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Feed

     
     by leos on: Feb 24 2007
     
    Score 50%

    Hmm.. Good point about the proximity to the close button.. I'm not sure if this would be a problem, but it is something to keep in mind. The other option is to put the icon immediately to the right of the last menu item.

    I think showing the shortcuts is a good idea. Because while this should be a fairly fast way to access functions, it is even faster if you know the specific shortcut key.

    As for the icons, I'll leave that up to the artists.. As you can see from my mockups, I'm not an artist :)

    I think when the user hasn't typed anything, it should show a list of the last 5 (or so) functions that the user activated from the search box.


    Reply to this

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     An add

     
     by ebbo on: Feb 23 2007
     
    Score 50%
    ebboebbo
    n3k Informatik
    Home

    Cool idea, especially if the search field is multifeatured

    fading out menus, where there are no "good" fields
    fading out files in the window below
    showing strigi stuff
    ...


    Reply to this

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     Re: An add

     
     by leos on: Feb 23 2007
     
    Score 50%

    I like your idea of fading out menu groups that do not contain matches. This could be another form of feedback to teach users where these functions are in the menu.

    I'm not sure what you mean by adding strigi stuff. Desktop search is out of the scope of a menubar searcher. That is more of a feature for my proposed run dialog.
    http://www.kde-look.org/content/show.php?content=53576


    Reply to this

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     Re: Re: An add

     
     by ebbo on: Feb 24 2007
     
    Score 50%
    ebboebbo
    n3k Informatik
    Home

    in my opinion 2-3 or more searchfields on the screen do not make any sense.
    i think apples spotlight solution iss pretty cool.

    i watched an apple developers video some days ago.
    they showed the same idea you posted here.
    only with one extra point.
    the search field shows two results
    first-the content matching menus
    second-search results from the applications help file

    my idea woul be a third result set
    with filey matching those extensions the application is able to use

    so you only have to search fields on your screen

    1-beagle,...
    2-an application search bar which helps you to use the actual appilation many time faster.

    or perhaps these both might be connected, so you have an search field in one corner and when you enter something it shows 1 and 2.
    i think from the usability and design aspect that might be nice too...


    Reply to this

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     Re: Re: Re: An add

     
     by leos on: Feb 24 2007
     
    Score 50%

    I agree that we shouldn't have the search fields visible at all times. That is why I updated the screenshots to show just an icon.

    Do you have a link to this apple video? I couldn't find it.

    I love your idea of searching files that the application can open. Also the help matches would be a neat addition.


    Reply to this

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     Re: Re: Re: Re: An add

     
     by ebbo on: Feb 25 2007
     
    Score 50%
    ebboebbo
    n3k Informatik
    Home

    http://developer.apple.com/
    you need itunes and an apple developer account.

    but write an email to ebbo(at)bierle.de... perhaps we can "arrange" something ;)


    Reply to this

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    .

     Good Idea

     
     by danielat on: Mar 6 2007
     
    Score 50%

    I like the idea (at most, this one with only a button)

    Maybe you should display above all found Menueentries its location in the menue in grayed out color - maybe breadcrumb like

    in your example:
    User enters "Sav"
    display:
    (gray) File >
    Save
    Save As
    (gray) Edit > Special >
    Save Style
    ...
    and so on

    So the usere knows for the next time, where he can find the Function in the menu.

    Daniel


    Reply to this

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    .

     Very Nice!

     
     by panzi on: Sep 7 2007
     
    Score 50%

    Funny, I had the same idea: http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Find+in+Menus+%28Mockup%29?content=65797

    But your "implementation" (the thing with the icon etc.) is even better then mine. :)

    I hope such a feature will show up in KDE 4.x (hopefully 4.1).


    Reply to this

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     Re: Very Nice!

     
     by panzi on: Sep 7 2007
     
    Score 50%

    @the icon:
    Maybe something like this?
    http://twoday.tuwien.ac.at/pub/files/

    This is just a very quick modification of an oxygen icon. The idea is a magnifying glass in front of a stylized menu.


    Reply to this

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     Re: Very Nice!

     
     by panzi on: Sep 7 2007
     
    Score 50%

    @the icon:
    Maybe something like this?
    http://twoday.tuwien.ac.at/pub/files/

    This is just a very quick modification of an oxygen icon. The idea is a magnifying glass in front of a stylized menu.


    Reply to this

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     Re: Re: Very Nice!

     
     by panzi on: Sep 7 2007
     
    Score 50%

    Wrong link. That's the right one:
    http://twoday.tuwien.ac.at/pub/files/menu-find.svgz

    PS: The forum software here is very crappy. When you go back your posting is reposted because of no indirection between the posting process and the displaying of the forum!


    Reply to this

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     Re: Very Nice!

     
     by leos on: Oct 23 2007
     
    Score 50%

    Nice :) Good ideas rarely happen alone. Hopefully sometime I will have time to implement this.


    Reply to this

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     Love it

     
     by Kwilliam on: Oct 23 2007
     
    Score 50%

    I really like this. Also, I think a button (as in screenshot 3) with the Group names (as in screenshot 3) is the best.

    I wonder how hard it would be to write a Qt widget that does this? Too bad I don't have more time... I'd need to learn C++ probably.


    -- The K in Kwilliam does not, in fact, stand for KDE. --
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