Do we have too many ways to search?

Bill Selman wselman at
Mon Aug 11 14:26:16 UTC 2014

Yes. Yes, we do. Thank you for bringing this up.

It is clear from the Search Access Points study I conducted in the spring that: 

The differences among the SAPs are confusing to users (“Why can I search in the search box and the URL bar? They do the same thing.”)
More and different is not better . The inconsistent functionality and interaction feedback among the SAPs adds to the confusion.
With the recent changes to newtab (adding search) and the launch of directory tiles creates a unique opportunity to eliminate search redundancy and streamline the search user experience. I put together a small presentation where I mapped out all the SAPs that exist and recommended ways to eliminate redundancy. I’m happy to discuss.


Bill Selman
Lead User Researcher
Mozilla Corporation

On August 11, 2014 at 9:18:43 AM, Mike Conley (mconley at wrote:

I saw somebody tweet this a few days ago:  

and it did strike me that there might indeed be a redundancy problem  
here. When a user first opens Firefox, by default, they're going to  
have 3 inputs for searching (AwesomeBar, search bar, about:home search  
input). Same goes for new tabs now.  

That's quite a lot of redundancy, and I wonder if it's perhaps too  
much. I know there's been a bit of work lately experimenting with  
search, and I just wanted to raise this redundancy as a little flag in  
case it has somehow slipped past the radar.  

Not that redundancy is intrinsically bad, but it is sometimes the  
symptom of a deeper problem.  

I originally opened this as a bug[1], where there's already been a  
little bit of discussion, but after reflection, it was clear that  
there wasn't anything immediately actionable in the bug report, so  
I've closed the bug and moved the discussion here to expose it to a  
wider audience. Perhaps read the bug comments to bring yourself up to  
speed on the current state of the discussion.  

Are there any additional thoughts on this?  


firefox-dev mailing list  
firefox-dev at  
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the firefox-dev mailing list