The new find bar shifting down content

Madhava Enros madhava at
Tue Aug 20 21:25:07 UTC 2013

Hi all - 

I think there are a few different discussions happening in this thread -- I wanted to pipe up with a bit of the context that may be lacking about rationale, etc.

1. Why at the top?
If we were from starting from scratch and designing a findbar, we'd put it at the top because
(a) that connects it to where we put all the rest of the Firefox chrome -- we'd expect that that's where most users would expect to look for it
(b) it conforms to a general design pattern that UI should structurally "precede" the stuff that it affects or controls -- i.e., changes, affected areas, etc. are "downstream" of the control -- whether this is top-to-bottom or left-to-right (assuming LTR locale).

We have the sense, anecdotally, that a lot of people don't notice the currently shipping find bar down at the bottom. I know this will seem unlikely to many of us to have already habituated to it's currently shipping location. I'm not sure what, if any, data we have on this, but you'll note that on new profiles we flash the bar yellow the first time just to get people's attention. We should try to not find ourselves in a situation that requires this in the first place.

2. Why shift everything down?
Indeed, why? My preference, and I think this is the intent behind the current implementation in nightlies, is that we should _overlay_ the bar when you hit Accel-F (animating it in, so that it's itself noticeable). If the first match should be underneath the findbar, we should scroll content down to reveal it. And, of course, a user can scroll content down manually as well.

3. Why the full width of the screen?
I think it's this way right now because this was a "minimal improving change" from the currently shipping findbar experience. Certainly, in the mists of time when this design work was started, I think we were told that a more minimal Chrome-style find box was Very Difficult to implement for us. I think we can/should pursue this, but I'm not sure it needs to be in the first rev.

4. Is this the platonic ideal of findbar experience
No - almost certainly not. In fact, we have further designs wrt highlighting not just the matching string but the surrounding context. That's for a future iteration, I think.

I hope this helps!


Madhava Enros
Firefox User Experience

On Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 5:02 PM, Markus Stange wrote:

> On Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 10:35 PM, Ehsan Akhgari <ehsan.akhgari at (mailto:ehsan.akhgari at> wrote:
> > 
> > However, I would feel a lot better if somebody came up with reasons why shifting the content up/down is actually desired. 
> I don't think it's desired, ever.
> >   The only reasoning in favor of the current behavior that I've seen is <> (the first paragraph),
> > 
> > 
> > 
> This makes no sense to me. Attention is drawn towards things that move and drawn away from the things that stay fixed. If everything is moving, attention is drawn everywhere it once, which can't work.
> > but based on the later discussion in the bug, it seems to me that this behavior is generally not desired, which caused us to come up with a solution which works some of the time but not all of the time, and will break on some popular websites such as Gmail.  And it's not clear at all why this half-working solution was implemented instead of other proposals which will give at least a consistent, if not superior, experience all the time.
> Which other proposals are you referring to? The only other consistent proposal I know of was adapting Chrome's solution. I implemented the half-working solution because I overestimated the percentage of pages which it work on, because Mike gave positive feedback on it, and because I did not have the time and energy for a Chrome-like full reimplementation.
> -Markus
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