[LINK] and the web in the US election Re: Tanner eyes web 2.0 tools

Stilgherrian stil at stilgherrian.com
Thu Nov 6 10:48:06 AEDT 2008

On 06/11/2008, at 10:22 AM, Lea de Groot wrote:
> I think there are high odds they start doing it because they have made
> google their homepage and accidently type in the input field in the
> big clear white space (which, incidentally, takes focus
> automatically), and find the result is better than trying it
> themselves in the browser bar.

There is that. Also I don't think users differentiate much between an  
"address box" and a "search box"... they're both "type stuff in here  
to get what you want boxes". And if it works, why bother thinking any  

Web server logs routinely show people entering search terms into a box  
clearly marked "subscribe to email newsletter", too. As with people  
clicking on "OK" no matter what the dialog says, we must continually  
remember that the vast majority of users have no formal structure in  
their heads for this stuff. I know I keep banging on about it, but  
this is the key to understanding.

If I use the terms "address box" and a "search box", most users go  
blank. If I point and say "type here", they're OK. If I say "web  
browser" they look at me blankly too. Almost NONE of the terms we take  
for granted are known to "ordinary users".

Also -- and I'm astounded no-one's said this yet -- modern web  
browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer cope with non-URL text in  
the address box by passing it through to the user's default search  
engine. If I type "neocon sex kitten" into FF3's address bar, I get  
the relevant Google search results. [bows]


Stilgherrian http://stilgherrian.com/
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