The inline searching seen in the 10.5 Help menu could be used in other menus.

History menu searching in OmniWeb

History menu search results in OmniWeb

Providing searching in the Bookmarks menu in browsers and the menu immediately right of the Application (File/Document/Thingamajig) would also make sense. The default search scope would be filetypes the application can open or import.

This type of inline searching would provide the sort of application-specific search focus that I mocked up earlier, but it doesn’t provide an easy way to move a query between applications.

Yes, jazz bagpipes. That cat could burn!

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Daniel J. Wilson

I am a designer, drummer, and photographer in Brooklyn, NY.

One thought on “SearchKilt”

  1. I see the Help’s menu’s Spotlight tinkering to be one of the most significant changes to the Mac OS menu system in years.

    Of course, what it most causes to spring to mind is none other than Microsoft’s planned radical break with UI continuity in upcoming edition of Office. I’m cautiously optimistic about their new “Ribbon” system. Essentially, the Ribbon seems to be taking the usual horizontal list of words yielding a vertical list of words formula and changing it so that the horizontal list of words yields another horizontal list of words mixed in with icons and other bric-a-brac. The factory default is that the Ribbon will unfurled even when not in use, but apparently there will also be an option to allow the Ribbon to “auto-collapse,” which makes its relationship to the current menu system all the more clear. If you watch you can clearly see that the Ribbon is just an evolved version of the classic drop down menu system.

    It’s Microsoft, so there’s a fair chance that they’ll screw it up in some really obvious ways, but I think that on the whole, the fundamental intuition — that menus basically haven’t changed since 1984 and thus are due a rethink — is sound. Basically, what I’m hoping is that Apple are watching what MS do with their Office and figure out a way to steal the good parts for themselves. There’s a lot that’s really right about how the top of the screen menus work in OS X, but… the design is a bit dated, and adding just a tiny dash of dynamism (as in the current discussion by using Spotlight to narrow down searches within the menu hierarchy) can only be a good thing.


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