Since very recently, search has become a lot harder to reach.

First, the keyboard shortcut s no longer works.

Second, there used to be a reasonably wide text box at the top of the screen. Now there's only a magnifying glass icon, which you have to click for a text box to appear. Between the "StackExchange" logo on the left and the search icon on the right, there's just some inert space.


The bug only happens at narrow window widths. If I make my window wider than my comfort allows, I do see the normal search box and the keyboard shortcut to activate it works.

Observed both with Chrome and Firefox, logged in or not.

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    It seems like that's the mobile interface, where tapping on the search icon to bring up the search box would make sense – divibisan Nov 6 '19 at 21:53
  • Do you mean “magnifying glass” instead of “hour glass”? – ColleenV Nov 6 '19 at 21:57
  • This is probably browser specific, example: Firefox Android 68.3b3 in desktop mode. SE treats my browser's screen as though it is 740 pixels wide, so my screen is narrow too. – Rob Nov 6 '19 at 21:58
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    @ColleenV Indeed, on second reading, that's right. Come on, it's only a minute difference. Ok, that was weak. I won't quit my day job. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 6 '19 at 22:01
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    Mhh, isn't this a good thing? Then people would start using a real search engine, one that would actually find what they're looking for. The one SE provides is mediocre at best. – Tom Nov 6 '19 at 22:01
  • @divibisan I don't understand. Why would you want to have this inert space on a mobile device? – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 6 '19 at 22:02
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    @Tom What better search engine is there for Stack Exchange content? If it can't search by tag, it is definitely not better. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 6 '19 at 22:03
  • @Gilles'SO-stopbeingevil' I don't really know, I'm not a UX designer, but I've seen that kind of thing on other mobile sites. It might be to accommodate narrower phone screens where the text in the search box might not fit. I assume it's a mobile-responsive thing since it switches at the same window width where the layout goes from normal horizontal to a mobile-style vertical – divibisan Nov 6 '19 at 22:05
  • @Gilles'SO-stopbeingevil' Not sure about the other site but when I'm looking for dupe target answer I hop over to google and use: search_terms "tag name1" "tag_nameN" site:stackoverflow.com – NathanOliver Nov 6 '19 at 22:09
  • @Gilles'SO-stopbeingevil' Like Nathan said, add site: to your search term, like site:stackoverflow.com or site:meta.stackoverflow.com. The search narrows then to this site, but isn't 100% exclusive in any case. For example site:meta.stackoverflow.com still finds stuff on meta.stackexchange.com. – Tom Nov 6 '19 at 22:12
  • Looks like the break point for this is at ~820 px wide? That's what I'm seeing when I test it. – Catija Nov 6 '19 at 22:17
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    @Tom I very often want to search by tag, not just by site. Using the tag name as a word finds far too many false positives. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 6 '19 at 22:18
  • @Catija The cutoff is between 816px and 817px, at least on my system. It's the same cutoff as when the right-hand sidebar moves to the bottom. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 6 '19 at 22:21
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    Can't speak to the responsive breakpoints and the hiding of the search box in general, but we should at least fix the shortcut. – Adam Lear Nov 6 '19 at 22:34
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    @CodyGray resize the window, make is smaller and you'll see the search box disappearing. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Nov 7 '19 at 8:55

I fixed up the shortcut - turns out it's been broken for a good couple years, heh. The search bar hiding behaviour at narrow widths is by design, though.

  • Hiding the search bar is by design? Why??? – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 7 '19 at 21:38
  • @Gilles'SO-stopbeingevil' Can't speak to the specific thinking there cause I wasn't a part of the design process, but rearranging or hiding elements on differently sized screens is fairly common as far as I know, so it doesn't strike me as a particularly strange move. – Adam Lear Nov 7 '19 at 22:21

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