usability stuff: findWhenTyping manifest

I love “findWhenTyping”-stuff: You know the new (sllloooooow-ass) search bar in windows vista in the start-menu and in every explorer? (Yes the thing they somehow borrowed from osx..)
In Firefox for instance there is Tools>Options>Advanced>”Search for text when I start typing“. So on any website you can just hit some letter-keys and it finds the occurence.

And they have it in the Options>Application tab as well as in the about:config. Just like it should be: If there is an interface with a list: You just never ever know how long the list can be. Will it be 10 entries or 7000? … I just made this a paradigm myself:

It’s a list? Offer findWhenTyping!

because manual scrolling and seeking just sucks.

Finally I had a little time to build such a thing myself. In our companys Maya-Toolkit (sorry no link, seems offline now) we have a lot of list-dialogs. Actually we have loads of list-dialogs all over the place. But the Maya toolkit is the only spot (thanks to my lame-ass scripting only skills) where I can put my hands on.

exept from the obvious things:

  • on keystroke: list content automatically shows matches only
  • entering nothing shows all entries
  • matching is non-case-sensitive
  • completely keyboard driven – you “can” handle the dialog without the mouse.

I have some additions that I haven’t seen in other similar dialogs:

  • a phrase that does not match anything still shows the last matches – so if you have a spelling mistake the list doesn’t go empty. An empty list would be just useless.
  • first entry is always selected – so you don’t have to extra select something if you already typed the right letters – just hit enter
  • when entering an asterisk * the default asterisks around the *phrase* will be omitted – so you can write start* and it matches everything that begins with start but not with start somewhere within.

What I need to implement in the future because its so useful in the AwesomeBar from firefox:

  • hitting space starts a new search withing the current hits – this means you can combine keywords just with space. For example in your image-folder “cat cap” would find all pictures with “cat” in the name or tag but within this list only the ones with a “caption”-name or tag.

Ok. As I’m unable to finish this right now. I gonna just amend it with a video when I have something to show. :]

2 thoughts on “usability stuff: findWhenTyping manifest”

  1. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been doing a little
    research on this. And he actually bought
    me dinner because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this….
    Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this matter here on your blog.

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