[wp-hackers] Page searching examples [was: 2.4 planning discussion]

Stephen Rider wp-hackers at striderweb.com
Wed Oct 3 16:25:41 GMT 2007

This discussion illustrates Allen Cooper's concept of "The Inmates  
are Running the Asylum"(1).  That is, we're designing interface from  
a standpoint of what's programmatically most logical (or easier)  
instead of what makes the most sense from the standpoint of Joe Average.

if Joe Average goes to a website and sees a "Search" box, he most  
likely expects it to search that site -- the *entire* site.  It  
should pull blog posts, pages, authors, tags... pretty much any  
information that actually appears on the site.  It is not intuitive  
to go to "blah.com", punch in a search, and only get results from a  
subsection of the site.

This is clearly a "growing pain" of WordPress's (most excellent)  
growth from a purely blog-oriented platform to a more full-featured  
CMS.  The search function has some catching up to do.  As a  
programmer it's probably beyond my skill (I'm sorry to say), or I  
would already be halfway to a patch by now.  As an interface  
designer, this seems almost self-evident.

At any rate, I think users expect "search" to search the site, not  
just a section of it -- ESPECIALLY when that Search Box appears on  
every page!  Does it make sense for the search box to appear on a  
page that would not be found by that very search box?  I myself did  
not realize until relatively recently that Search did NOT find  
anything on Pages.

I don't mean any disrespect, but it surprises me the number of people  
actually arguing that search should _not_ search pages.  Is this just  
a case of nobody wanting to "bell on the cat"?  I'm not the strongest  
programmer (largely from lack of practice), but I'm happy to help out  
in any way that I can.


1) http://www.amazon.com/Inmates-Are-Running-Asylum-Products/dp/ 

Hacker Scott said:

> [A] user told me just yesterday that search wasn't working. When I  
> checked, it seemed to be working fine. Turned out what she meant  
> was that she was searching on an author's name and (quiet  
> naturally) assuming that search would search everything. Yes, we  
> have author pages with lists of stories by those authors, but  
> people default to search, and expect Goog-like results.
> Whether it makes sense to include authors in search results is a  
> different question, since most installations don't have more than a  
> few authors. Just saying that users expect it.

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