Nautilus "search when typing" behaviour is inconsistent

Bug #404779 reported by Jerry Chong on 2009-07-26
This bug affects 8 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
One Hundred Papercuts
nautilus (Ubuntu)
Ubuntu Desktop Bugs

Bug Description

By default, Nautilus will perform a search/select files in the folder as users type into the window, like Firefox's quick find. However it seems to activate rather inconsistently when using the side panes. E.g.

1. Sometimes when opening the Nautilus window the folder view is not selected, so typing into the window does nothing. The tiny search box still pops up as if reassuring the user that it is searching, but nothing appears to be selected.

2. As an example of 1, if the user opens a folder by clicking on a Places bookmark on the left pane then starts typing, it doesn't actually work as the left pane is still highlighted. The only direct visual cue that tells the user that it's not working is the tiny search box that pops up on the left instead of the right, but it's too minor. (The fact that the Places pane doesn't support type-searching compared to Tree and History should also be considered a bug too.)

3. As an example of 1, if the user uses the crumbs buttons in the Location bar, the Go menu, the Bookmarks menu, or selecting tabs, typing into the window doesn't even show the tiny search box.

4. Hitting tab when the user notices problem 2 solves the problem, but requires domain knowledge of the tabbing order of panels in nautilus, and also may require multiple tab presses in problem 3 for example. Pressing the up-down key when problem 3 is noticed also immediately reminds the user where the control is being focused, but requires extra time to discover that and manually target the folder view again, and may also disrupt the current folder view depending on the control selected. (There's also another bug here, where after when the folder view is finally selected by tabbing and the user starts typing, it appears the tiny search box text is not cleared and will just show the junk text from the user's previous search attempts)

Suggested fixes:
- Based on these use cases, allow switching the focus to the folder pane when the user starts typing into the window.
- Alternatively, make the visual cues more noticeable when users start typing in the window if another control other than the folder view is selected.

Jerry Chong (zanglang) on 2009-07-26
tags: added: nautilus usability
ugmoe2000 (ericpulvino) wrote :

Suggested Fixes:
        What about a time-based fix to this... where if a user stops typing text into the search box it will extinguish itself on the current item it has parsed/jumped to after a short yet logical amount of time. I love the feature but I think the execution/presentation needs a bit of work.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for your bug report. The issue is an upstream one and it would be nice if somebody having it could send the bug the to the people writting the software (

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Ubuntu Desktop Bugs (desktop-bugs)
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Bruno Girin (brunogirin) wrote :

Thank you for taking the time to report this bug and helping to make Ubuntu better. You reported this bug a while ago and there hasn't been any activity in it recently. I tried all the use cases you describe in Karmic and the search facility seems to always work as expected so I was wondering if this is still an issue for you. Can you try with the latest Ubuntu release? Thanks in advance.

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete
Sense Egbert Hofstede (sense) wrote :

I can confirm this on an up-to-date version of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx.
Many thanks to the reporter for his extensive description of the bug. I'm reporting this bug upstream.
Because it's a usability problem I'm changing the status from Wishlist to Low.

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
importance: Wishlist → Low
status: Incomplete → Triaged
Changed in nautilus:
importance: Undecided → Unknown
status: New → Unknown
Omer Akram (om26er) wrote :

Thank you for bringing this bug to our attention. However, a paper cut should be a small usability issue , in the default Ubuntu 9.10 install , that affects many people and is quick and easy to fix. So this bug can't be addressed as part of the project.

For further info about papercuts criteria , pls read >

Don't worry though, This bug has been marked as "invalid" ONLY in the papercuts project.

Changed in hundredpapercuts:
status: New → Invalid
Changed in nautilus:
status: Unknown → Incomplete
Changed in nautilus:
importance: Unknown → Medium
status: Incomplete → Expired
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Is that still an issue?

Kangarooo Jānis (kangarooo) wrote :

Of course
I dont see anywhere written- ah forget about it.. we got used to it and all other ubuntu non-launchpad users also understood intuitively.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Is that still an issue in newer versions? If so could you describe steps to trigger the issue/maybe made a screencast showing it?

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Incomplete
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