I wanted to use search (on Maths Stack Exchange) and realised for somebody not having learnt the features yet, I had to THINK, and it took 3 clicks before I could even start. I'd like to suggest the UI is improved. The search itself seems powerful enough but if the interface could be improved it would be used more. Not that it's deficient, but we aspire to be the best we can be.
I took out half an hour to write a spec for any who might want it...
- Click on Search ⇒ displays hints or advanced link. The ability to simple search remains.
- Click on hints/advanced expands to display advanced search tips from here on a modal, without navigating away.
- Begin typing ⇒ displays top 3 results dynamically using Ajax
- Start any special character e.g. "[" for tags ⇒ search recognises as such and dynamically auto-suggests valid completions (as the tags field does on the bottom of posts)
- Ability to select from among auto-suggestions using arrows and [tab] key so no need to take hands off keyboard. Tab selects item and adds space ready for remainder of search string to be entered.
- Start typing "user:" ⇒ suggests matching users with autocomplete. Includes by username not just id. Suggestions sorted by a) users interacted with recently and b) users most recently active on the site.
- Start typing "status:" ⇒ suggests possible statuses
- etc. for other special strings
- Enter any special word and dynamic help panel displays context-sensitive content for that word from here
- [x] button on components of search string to instantly delete them
- Rich data pickers for e.g. [date] fields to quickly pick times, dates etc.
- Data pickers to include range pickers, esp. for dates & numerical ranges.