The new find bar shifting down content

Ehsan Akhgari ehsan.akhgari at
Mon Aug 12 23:15:00 UTC 2013

Hi everyone,

I find the new behavior of the find bar to shift down the whole content
when it opens up extremely jarring.  Visual changes are extremely
distracting for me, and since we've made this change, Firefox has become a
much less pleasant software for me since pretty much every time I press
Cmd+F, my entire train of thought is derailed as my brain unconciously
tries to figure out what caused almost all of the contents of my Firefox
window to shift down.

Chrome has solved this problem by overlaying content as opposed to shifting
it down, and the way their implementation works their find bar spans over
part of the browser window width, and they shift it to the left or right if
it happens to overlay a found piece of text.  I originally filed bug 893131
about this which got duped to bug 893446, where, in comment 28 we received
UX feedback from Zhenshuo suggesting that shifting content should be
preferred over overlaying it.  However, I don't find that convincing since
I do not believe that these are the only two possible options.  We can
handle the edge case where the found text is right at the very top of the
page by various techniques, including shifting content down only in that
case.  The very top of the page is not a popular place to put interesting
text into, so that would mean that we would end up shifting the content
down in a lot fewer cases than we do now.

The solution currently implemented in bug 893446 prevents shifting content
in the case of pages which enough vertical scroll height to overflow the
height of the browser window, but it does result in content shifting in a
number of cases, such as:

* When the site uses iframes for most of its content (such as Gmail)
* When a site is shorter than the available height of the browser window
* When you scroll down after opening the find bar in other pages

I don't think that the fix there is adequate, and I firmly believe that
this is not a browser I would feel comfortable shipping.  Please note that
this is not an "OMG change" type of reaction, there are lots of changes
that I don't personally like, but this makes using Firefox a huge pain for
me and perhaps for others like me (I don't have data on the percentage of
the population who are affected by motions like this.)

I would like to advocate for the following solution:

* Overlay the content as opposed to shifting it down when opening the find
* Don't adjust the scroll origin like the patch in bug 893446 does
* Shift down the content *if* the found text is at the very top of the page

I believe ScrollIntoView should already handle the third category.

Does this sound reasonable?

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