Searching the Control Center

Nick and I had a discussion a few days ago about what search should look like in the new Settings shell. I had a go at implementing what we discussed and now it is possible to search not only panel names, but also their descriptions:

Showing the match in-line (much like search engines do) gives the user an understanding of why the item has matched, but also some context. It probably needs some tweaks to detect things like word boundaries, and the description of each panel needs to make sure it includes relevant keywords.

I also made sure that keyboard usage was easy. The filtering is done as you type and pressing enter will activate the first (top left most) item. Hitting the escape key will clear the entry and return you to the All Settings view. I also need to add arrow key support so that it is possible to navigate directly to the results view from the entry.

If you’d like to try it out for yourself, the code is in the extensible-shell branch of gnome-control-center.

2 thoughts on “Searching the Control Center”

  1. “the description of each panel needs to make sure it includes relevant keywords.”

    I am going to scream :b

    We’re doing that right now with applications in the menu, too, and there is a more search-centric UI coming with gnome-shell. I think using the description field to dump keywords is entering into a world of hurt. The description is meant to be a presentation piece; it gets shown to the user to describe an application. We aren’t meant to parse it. We don’t put instructions for how to categorize applications in the description, so why should we use it as a single source of search keywords?

    I suggest you parse an X-Keywords field in the .desktop entry, even if nothing uses it right now. Given time, I am sure it will catch on and be better for user experience in every possible way.

  2. I’d like to Dylan McCall’s comment: please don’t dump it into the description, and also, please do make sure keywords include synonyms, so you can not only search for “display”, but also “monitor”, “screen” and so on.

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