The new find bar shifting down content

Tim Van den Eynde tim_vdeynde at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 22 16:39:36 UTC 2013


First of all, I'm very happy to see the find bar get new attention :) I 
like a lot of the changes being planned for the new find bar (like 
automatically enabling "highlight all", showing the total number of 
matches...), but I don't agree with moving it to the top. I waited a 
long time to reply because I wanted to see other comments before, but 
there still are a few things I noticed about this change that aren't 
mentioned. I will also include other reasons, for completeness' sake.

- Page overlays that can't be scrolled out of their way, are annoying. I 
strongly dislike the find bar in Chrome for that reason, and also the 
URL hover that is default in all major browsers nowadays.

- Switching left/right is a band-aid to try to avoid overlaying 
important content, but that breaks knowing where to look and forces you 
to think about it.

- Shifting content in any way is visually confusing and should be 
avoided as much as possible. This might happen both at the top and the 
bottom of the window (best example is Facebook, which has them both: the 
blue bar at the top and the chat boxes at the bottom), but I think we 
all agree it is a lot more common at the top. In the end, that's what 
this whole thread is all about.

- A little weird argument maybe, but I think it's something that should 
be taken into consideration. My browser is set-up to have three bars at 
the top: tabs, navigation toolbar and bookmark toolbar. I think usage of 
the bookmark toolbar is widespread enough to count this as a use case we 
care about. Three bars are easy for my mind to grasp as "top", "middle" 
and "bottom". Adding a fourth one, changes this to "top", "upper 
middle", "lower middle" and "bottom", which is for some reason much 
harder to pinpoint straight away. Because the find bar only appears when 
you call it, it also makes my mind switch between those two groups, 
which doesn't make it easier. At the bottom, I only have one bar (and 
most people none), so it's very easy to just focus at the bottom of the 
window.

- To finish: the placement of a UI element probably doesn't matter all 
that much for a user. Sure, it might be easier to spot at the top the 
first time, but I have never seen anyone ask where the find bar was 
after opening it, because they couldn't find it. And afterwards, it's 
just a habit and doesn't really matter anyway. As far as I know, this is 
the only "real" reason for moving it to the top, and in my opinion, it 
doesn't even come close to being worth all the bad side effects it brings.

Tim



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