12 Vote

In a previous thread I suggested that search results include expandable/collapsible categories in order to offer a more manageable user interface, while at the same time, offering a more useful tool and better resource than the currently implemented scheme provides. However, having read the suggestions listed by Webdunce in this thread, I am of the mindset that the user interface suggested by Webdunce (see illustration below) provides a much more elegant and workable solution to the problem:

Suggested user interface:

alt text

To sum up my thoughts, I think that Webdunce has provided some tremendously insightful and useful suggestions in regards to the functionality of the search bar. In particular, the suggestion to offer a small user interface to limit search options would offer members a much more powerful and beneficial tool than the current scheme provides (It would also be nice to have the option to limit searches by with an option describing who posted or responded to a given topic/thread).

In any case, I opened this thread to see whether other members thought regarding the recommendation for a user interface that would allow users to limit search options. Please respond by posting your opinions and suggestions for improvements to this feature below

Also, it would be helpful–in terms of collecting and quantifying data regarding member reaction to this feature–to start each post by clearly stating whether you are generally in favor of or against the user interface outlined above as it compares with the currently implemented design. Thanks to everyone in advance for participating in this survey.


  • Posted Feb 4, 2012
  • | link
  • | flag
  • Excellent idea. - Leatha Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • Don't forget the "All" checkbox. I'd hate to sound lazy, but it would annoy me (un)checking them individually all the time, lol. Anyway, good idea! - Goldie_Miel Feb 4, 2012 flag

12 Answers

5 Vote

My favorite options is shown here.

Wow, I really appreciate you highlighting this subject out of the "feedback" thread. Thanks!!!

I am definitely in favor of it.

After I made that post, Iza, I added a modified version...I wonder what you think of this, instead as compared to the one you have in your opening post.

alt text

There is a bit of trade off. My original idea makes it clear what the search bar does whether you interact with it or not, which is very nice. However, it requires stretching the search bar horizontally and the header vertically somewhat.

This second idea allows the search bar and header to remain "as-is" graphically speaking, which is good, but it has a downside in that the search bar remains somewhat mysterious until the user interacts with it.

Regardless, the most important thing to me is that the search bar incorporates the forum in its results (if only optionally) as I find that very useful (it is a feature I use all the time at wordreference.com), and I see no reason why I should first have to navigate to the forums to get to the forum search bar.

And, how often do we say, "Search the forums before posting such a commonly asked question?"

  • And, if they give us this interface, I would like my choices (whether to include or exclude, say the dictionary) to persist based on my profile. In other words, if I set it to search only the forums, then I want it to stay that way until I change it... - webdunce Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • ...even if I log out for two weeks and then log back in. I want it to remember it based on my profile. - webdunce Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • I think seeing them on the bar without having to dropdown is better only because after reading so many comments about people not realizing something was there all of that time is an indication. - Yeser007 Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • Me, I like to explore things so I would have found them sooner than most I guess. - Yeser007 Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • Either way is fine with me - they are both better than not having it at all. - Jadey7 Feb 4, 2012 flag
5 Vote

Another option would be to drop the search box down into its own panel...I think I like this best. It lets us keep the basic design of the current header and adds only about 40 or so pixels to the height of the header. It also lets us clearly indicate with a persistent label what the search box searches. An options drop down (only visible when we hover or click on "options") lets us change what parts of the site the search box searches.

The search by user option is a more long term goal as it is functionality that doesn't already exist. But it shows how "extendable" the options drop down could be.

alt text

  • That could be interesting. I agree. It's a good idea. The first idea is probably second best. - Jadey7 Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • Thanks, Jadey. :) - webdunce Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • Yep, I'm liking this more and more with each evolution. "Options" is a great start on narrowing the search field and I like this design best. - ajaks Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • I agree with you. This might be the best option yet! - Izanoni1 Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • Nice. You guys are awesome :) - Goldie_Miel Feb 4, 2012 flag
4 Vote

After I made that post, Iza, I added a modified version...I wonder what you think of this, instead as compared to the one you have in your opening post.

I would be in favor of either.

I think that your original idea would probably be more helpful and easier to navigate for more novice users; however, as you have mentioned, there is a definite trade-off when it comes to the space needed. On the other hand, I'm not sure that the increased visibility that a larger search bar would entail would be all that detrimental, especially when one considers the frequency with which the search option is utilized.

In any case, I also think that a pop-down menu would be a viable alternative, but it might be helpful if the site managers were to include information regarding its usage in a FAQ section.

  • site managers. - webdunce Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • hehe...yes, of course. I guess we are not speaking of ophthalmologists here ;-P - Izanoni1 Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • Yeah, they could definitely move the username over about 20 pixels. And it looks like they are already using a minimum width on the site, so it would be okay to do it the first way (where it is a clear, persistent label under the search bar). - webdunce Feb 4, 2012 flag
3 Vote

In favor, I like Webdunces idea.

  • I like it too for what it's worth. - rac1 Feb 4, 2012 flag
3 Vote

I'm in favor of Webdunce's suggestion, and anything else that would improve the search on this site. As it stands now, I think it's one of the weakest points of the site. I try to avoid using it except to occasionally navigate out of a page and directly into the dictionary. How often does that happen? Almost never. I usually just have another tab permanently open in the dictionary.

Yesterday I went to Categories > Reference Articles to search for a particular article by Heidita. I entered a keyword (Love) and the search function apparently gave me every post ever written in any category containing the word "love." All in no particular order that I could see. Useless! At least when I started I had it narrowed down to a category! Ask for help finding a needle in a haystack here, and all you get is an even bigger truckload of hay dumped on your head!

Searchable categories, phrasebook, users, etc. would be a dream come true! Add a way to organize or narrow the returns by entering information such as by date or user name and I'll think I've died and gone to heaven! ...... does this help your cause, or should I go wish upon a star? smile

  • Oh yes, an advanced search function to search for, say, "SE" under user "Lazarus" ... that would be awesome. - webdunce Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • I'm in complete agreement with you here, Ajaks!! ♥ - territurtle Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • And by the date asked - Gregory84 Feb 4, 2012 flag
1 Vote

Webdunce provided very useful suggestions. I'll try to take his idea a step further and suggest a similar Search system, like spotlight.

"Spotlight is a system-wide desktop search feature of Apple's Mac OS X operating system. Spotlight is a selection-based search system, which creates a virtual index of all items and files on the system. It is designed to allow the user to quickly locate a wide variety of items on the computer, including documents, pictures, music, applications, and System Preferences. In addition, specific words in documents and in web pages in a web browser's history or bookmarks can be searched. It also allows the user to narrow down searches with creation dates, modification dates, sizes, types and other attributes. Spotlight also offers quick access to definitions from built-in New Oxford American Dictionary and to calculator functionality." Reference: wikipedia


Imagine a search engine where when you type a word, you'll able to see all categories that contain this word automatically, and chose what suits you best. These categories can be flash cards, q and a forum, phrase book, users, lessons etc, reference, etc.

  • Wonderful, wonderful suggestion, Ianta. However, it may be a bit more difficult for Chris to implement -- but that doesn't stop a user from dreaming! ;-) - territurtle Feb 4, 2012 flag
0 Vote

To be sure, the search function has been inadequate; I have frequently been disappointed with it. (Sin duda, la función de busqúeda ha sida inadecuada ... been having fun with "ha sido/a" 8-) ) Also, grouping functions into simple categories to present a "cleaner, leaner" menu bar is a great improvement. However, right now, I am lamenting the absence of a text input cursor. Did it just go away? The only way I can tell where the input point is ... is by typing something in! alt text

0 Vote

Great suggestions, Izan and all who are participating heregrin

0 Vote

It would be great if we could have the ability to search questions by date, and also maybe the ability to enter keywords.

  • By key words I mean, when you ask the question so others can easily find it later. - Gregory84 Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • This will be very useful for those who use the site regularly. - Gregory84 Feb 4, 2012 flag
0 Vote

Iza, I'm sorry if I am repeating something that has already been covered, but could there be a space in the drop down box for the Reference section like in the Old SD? Thanks.

  • Sure...if either of the options with the drop downs are chosen, then it is easy (design wise) to add another option to the drop down without affecting design (the drop down just gets longer, but it is invisible until activated). Now, coding wise... - webdunce Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • Great idea! Of course this is all pie in the sky right now. ::dreaming:: - ajaks Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • ...I have no idea how hard it is to make the search function search a new section of the site. Also, I don't know about Iza, but I have absolutely no sway in these decisions. - webdunce Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • @Webdunce: My opinion on the matter carries no more weight than any other. I was merely hoping that if this little survey recieved enough positive feedback that it might sway the site managers towards implementing some of the proposed designs - Izanoni1 Feb 4, 2012 flag
0 Vote

I don't have the technical knowledge to make detailed suggestions but a search function that would allow searching in a particular part of the site. Being able to specify a section of the forum to search in or even specify a particular user would be great. .

0 Vote

We have lost a feature I really used to like a lot...

When typing into the dictionary input box, the site used to match what you typed with a short list of possible words you are after, and you could click it if it showed up.

It was not only nice, but it helped to ensure the word you were looking for was not based on a misspelled input.

  • I still have that feature in the dictionary/translate input box. And yes, it is one of the nifty and superior features in this site! - ajaks Feb 4, 2012 flag
  • It is still in the main translate boxes...just not in the top search box. It should definitely be incorporated into the search box though...as it appears to me that they are wanting to make the search box double as the translation box. - webdunce Feb 4, 2012 flag
Answer this Question