Simplified Search for Vector

The Vector skin differs in several distinct ways from its predecessor Monobook. One of the most prominent distinctions is the location of search controls, now in the top-right of the screen. User-testing has shown that this change has improved users’ ability to find and access the search controls. But there still remained some obvious areas for improvement. Our work to ensure that projects running on MediaWiki can be accessed from a wide range of devices brought us to conclude that the search controls were too space-consuming, specifically taking up too much horizontal space that is otherwise used for displaying top-level menu items. Meanwhile in several of our user experience studies we found that the search controls are generally confusing to users, specifically they did not understand the distinction between go and search.

Screenshot of the simplified search interface for the Vector skin

Simplified search interface for the Vector skin

To solve these problems, we’ve developed a simplified search interface for Vector. The “Search” and “Go” buttons are gone, but their functionality live on. As you type, search suggestions are offered and accessible via the mouse or keyboard using the up and down arrow keys. “Go” is still the default action, executed by pressing the enter key on the keyboard. To perform a full-text search, users can click on the “containing” option within the search suggestions or press the up arrow key on the keyboard. Also, the new search uses less horizontal screen real-estate, making more room for top-level menu items.

You can experience the new search interface by visiting our prototype site.

Trevor Parscal, Lead Features Engineer

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11 Comments on Simplified Search for Vector

Dami 4 years

Testing it on the Hungarian Wikipedia I find it annoying that if I click on a search suggestion it doesn’t take me to that page – I have to additionally hit enter. Similarly, clicking on the “containing” suggestion should take me directly to the search page.

aaa replica 5 years

Thank you for your job.It,s you who make MediaWiki a good website.

Trevor Parscal 5 years

Fleshgrinder :
Not working with Opera 10.54 (Build 3386 Snapshot) and Opera’s JavaScript engine is extremely near to the ECMA 3 standards.

Well, it’s working on 10.53 build 8343 (latest build at time of writing this), and all major browsers and their most commonly deployed versions. I suspect it may be more likely the issue of a particular build at fault here.

Fleshgrinder 5 years

Not working with Opera 10.54 (Build 3386 Snapshot) and Opera’s JavaScript engine is extremely near to the ECMA 3 standards.

Trevor Parscal 5 years

Dami :
I found it strange that if I wanted to do full-text search I had to press the up arrow even when there was only one “containing” suggestion and it was below the search field (pressing the down button didn’t do anything in this case).

Definitely a bug – we’re poking at it. Thanks for the report!

Dami 5 years

I found it strange that if I wanted to do full-text search I had to press the up arrow even when there was only one “containing” suggestion and it was below the search field (pressing the down button didn’t do anything in this case).

Trevor Parscal 5 years

Y :
Disables full-text search without JavaScript, though.

This raises an interesting point, which I will work on addressing.

Y 5 years

Disables full-text search without JavaScript, though.

Jeroen De Dauw 5 years

Awesome :D ….

rainmansr 5 years

Very good work !

James 5 years

I agree that the “containing” menu item makes much more sense than the Search/Go distinction, but it’s still pretty opaque. I miss the option to do an external (e.g. Google, Yahoo, etc.) search on the results page.

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