I'd like to propose an improved (my personal opinion) search input placeholder text.

Currently the placeholder text just says


Just so you can see what I'm talking about.

Current search input placeholder
Current version

I think it would make sense to give people a bit more help by showing them that they can search for tags too.

Like this:

[tag] search terms

This is how the improved version could look like.

Improved search input placeholder
Possibly improved version

This should be a fairly small change in terms of code.

  • 2
    Not trying to play devils advocate, but that makes it seem you have to put in a [tag] followed by a search term. As an alternative for promoting the advanced search options, how about when they click in the box, a link appears next to it with a link to the search tips? – Matt Mar 5 '12 at 16:46
  • I was under the impression that search field was free-form and not necessarily limited to tags. No? – Marvin Pinto Mar 5 '12 at 16:48
  • Having [tag] in there almost looks like it's required before the search term - maybe have it as a "hint" that comes up when the box is in focus? Or a tooltip? Does [tag] mean that the tag should be in brackets - i.e. "[iphone] slow graphics" - or does it mean that tag is optional? – Tim Mar 5 '12 at 16:48
  • You make some good points there. Didn't consider that. – Octavian Damiean Mar 5 '12 at 16:49
  • Why can't we just do: search terms or [tag] – Cody Gray Mar 5 '12 at 17:09

My first reaction was to downvote because, as has been pointed out, this makes the [tag] bit look required. The idea is sound, though. So instead, have an upvote and an alternate suggestion:

search keywords, [tag]s and more

Perhaps if the field ever becomes blank after auto-expanding, it could say this:

search keywords, [tag]s or advanced operators (submit blank search for more info)

This is a screenshot of how it would look like.

enter image description here

  • Your wording sounds even better. – Octavian Damiean Mar 5 '12 at 17:10
  • Added a screenshot to your answer. I hope you don't mind. – Octavian Damiean Mar 5 '12 at 17:24
  • Not at all; it looks great! – Pops Mar 5 '12 at 17:37

I like the concept. However, there are several issues, some of which have been mentioned in the comments.

  1. The placeholder makes the tag seem to be required.
  2. There are other "power search" operators that can be used.

Perhaps a small question mark with a popover with simple search syntax and a link to the full description page would be a better fit.

  • I like the idea of a popover. – Octavian Damiean Mar 5 '12 at 16:51
  • I don't like the idea of a popover. There are too many popups and whistles going on all over my screen already. If this can be easily fixed by modifying the prompt text, then I'm all for it. Otherwise, I agree with kiamlaluno. – Cody Gray Mar 5 '12 at 17:10
  • Thinking about it, the only problem with popovers I see is supporting touchbased devices. – Octavian Damiean Mar 5 '12 at 17:13
  • For touch, a hover can be replaced with a tap. No biggie. – Moshe Mar 6 '12 at 12:17

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