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Re: self cleaning of Dash Search


On 22. feb. 2012 21:47, John Lea wrote:
On 22/02/12 18:57, Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen wrote:
On 02/22/2012 06:44 PM, supernova wrote:
Good evening (GMT+1).

When I have to launch a process, ie for example Process Manager, I
open the Dash by clicking on META key, write "proc" in the search form
and automatically the Dash filters all previous icons and search for
corresponding one: the Process Manager.

When I open the Dash later, i don't see all icons, but the string
"proc" is still there (filtering), and the only icon present is the
Process Manager one. At this point I have to delete that string and
all icons appear.

I think this slows down my work. In my opinion it could be more
performant if at the closing action of the Dash the search form was
automatically cleaned.

How does this slow down your work? As the search query is already selected when you open the Dash, all you have to do to perform a different search is type the new search query (there is no need to delete anything). When text is selected, there is a very long standing text handling design pattern where by the first letter typed both deletes the existing query and replaces it with the new character.

The dash is now used for recent stuff. I think this changes the situation with regards to saved searches. Because that change makes it a lot more likely that you're looking for an overview of the recent stuff, and not to search for anything specific. For instance, you may wish to launch an application that is frequently used, but not frequent enough to deserve being locked to the launcher. Or you're watching a series of videos and you want to look up which video was last watched so you can watch the next one. Or you're notified that a download has completed and you want to open the most recent download.

All these are real scenarios, and I consider them to be more frequent than wanting to expand on a previous search. In this case, you'll have to clear the search field in order to get the overview you sought. Since the search result update is not immediate, it's easy to think you need to press enter after clearing the search field in order to see your recent applications. If you do so, the dash closes, and you'll launch an application that you quite likely didn't intend to launch. I consider this a real usability issue. Particularly for the dash, which is now mainly used for news, it makes little sense to require that the user performs an un-search.

I've also noticed that it's sometimes not easy to notice what is currently being displayed, particularly for long-lasting sessions. It'll probably be less of an issue with short lived sessions, since you'll be conscious of the specific context all the time. For instance, if I'm working on a particular customer, it's obviously beneficial to keep that customer in the search field so I can easily get to all relevant data while I'm working on that customer. But when I come back after a long weekend, that will not make as much sense. Just the other day, I was about to file a bug about the files lens displaying incorrect results when I noticed that I had searched for something the day before, and that search was still being used, though I was in a completely different context by then.

One suggestion; might it be a good idea to keep the search for x amount of time and then clearing it? I mean, you're only in the search mindset for a certain amount of time anyway. After that, the search becomes more irrelevant. We are not keeping the searches between sessions, for instance. Why should we keep them forever for long-lasting sessions? Or, if we do keep them for long-lasting sessions, why should we not also keep them between sessions? At the very least, this behavior has to be consistent.

One of the key attributes of the Dash is that you can open it and just start typing at any moment without having to do anything else.

Yes, but for recent stuff, you shouldn't be required to search at all. This has become an important part of the dash, so I think keeping the global search phrase deserves some new consideration. I do actually feel it slows me down somewhat and requires a little more focus on my part. For lenses, it might possibly make more sense, but it has to be more obvious that you're displaying the results of an old search. This has fooled me more than once. If you open a news page, you don't expect to first get the news from the last time you visited the site and then being able to navigate to todays news. You expect to get todays news first and then possibly being able to find news you read before. Right? The same is true for Google search. Though it is possible that I want to expand upon a previous search, I would rather prefer it to be blank by default. I should be able to easily get a list of previous searches if I want to repeat a previous search, but when I need that, I'll look for it.

I am in favor of forgetting searches when the dash closes. It quite simply requires too much consideration. If you've searched for something that only returns one result, or a few, it's obvious. But if that search returns a hundred results, the search phrase isn't easily noticed and "Recent files" might display files you used six months ago. (That happened to me yesterday and I was about to file a bug about it).

I don't think I've benefited from saved searches once. It has caused problems more than once. Not a big deal for me. But if I can get the erroneous impression that the results are wrong, then I guarantee many users who are just getting to know Ubuntu, will experience this. It will result in a loss of confidence, which is a very bad thing.

In my opinion, it is better to err on the side of caution, making sure no-one will ever get the impression that the results are wrong. The risk simply outweighs the benefits.

Jo-Erlend Schinstad