The new find bar shifting down content

Ehsan Akhgari ehsan.akhgari at
Tue Aug 20 19:19:03 UTC 2013

On Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 3:04 PM, Gavin Sharp <gavin at> wrote:

> On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 4:15 PM, Ehsan Akhgari <ehsan.akhgari at>
> wrote:
> > 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.
> I find it surprising that you feel this way, because I haven't heard a
> lot of negative feedback about the shifting itself (aside from some
> issues with the animation/fade that have since been fixed).
> My experience has been that training myself to look up rather than
> down to see what I'm searching for has been the most jarring change,
> but that's caused by the change rather than inherent to the new
> solution.

Yes, I know that this is surprising to some people.  Through talking to
various people (and yes this is anecdotal evidence), some share this level
of distraction by motion as I have, and some other people don't have any
idea what I'm talking about!  :-)  So, can we please assume that this is a
problem for a subset of people for the rest of this conversation?

> (I think the per-tab findbar has also been a bit jarring for some of
> my use cases, but those are quite edge-casey and it hasn't been too
> bad.)

For me, the problem only happen when the entire content area shifts down.
I don't care much about the per-tab findbar (and I do think it's an

> > 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.
> Zhenshuo's concern seems to be about hiding page contents at all, not
> just about hiding found text.

I'm not sure if that makes it easier to understand why this is an issue.

>  > 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.)
> Getting beta feedback would probably be useful. I've not heard enough
> negative feedback about this to feel like we need to reverse course,
> but that may just be a side effect of the smaller Aurora/Nightly
> populations.

What kind of feedback are you looking for?  I've mostly stopped using the
findbar completely.  I don't expect people who do not experience this
motion related issue to be annoyed by this change much (at least, not
beyond the "OMG change" reaction.)

> There does seem to be a complicated dependency tree with some
> regression fixes/improvements still needing uplift to Firefox 25, so I
> think we need to do a better job of ensuring we're in a shippable
> state.

My contention is that even with all of those fixes uplifted, we'd not be in
a shippable state.

>  > I would like to advocate for the following solution:
> >
> > * Overlay the content as opposed to shifting it down when opening the
> find
> > bar
> > * 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?
> I don't have strong feelings (my instincts here aren't strong, I would
> want to play with it to see how it feels). Do any UXers have any
> thoughts about this proposal?

One thought experiment here which might be helpful here is if somebody can
write an add-on to do something really distracting every time that the
findbar gets opened and closed (such as, I don't know, blinking the entire
content area in red for three seconds?!) and then have people use the
findbar in their normal browsing.  I don't think that UX feedback without
taking the downsides of the current approach for people like me is going to
help much here, since without that in mind, there is no problem to be
solved here.

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