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Status Messages in Desktop Search



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February 26, 2007 5:29 pm

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Desktop Search iconThis item may be just a minor detail, but it’s an improvement that shows to me that the SLED team are still driving in the right direction.

The Desktop Search in SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 is extremely helpful. However, if you have just copied a whole bunch of files locally, or maybe you just recently added an email account that contains a lot of messages, those items may not appear in your search results until the search engine has had a chance to index the new data. But that means that you just need to wait, right? No. Getting incomplete results from a search tool leads users to mistrust this important productivity feature.

In a recent Novell Open Audio interview, SLED10 usability team lead, Anna Dirks, tells how her team repeatedly found that users would not use search. Even when assigned obvious find-the-file tasks, they would go through file after file looking for a keyword! Why? Windows users don’t trust that desktop search works. So, Novell’s desktop usability team has become pretty conscientious about making sure that users find as few reasons as possible not to trust search on Linux. (Beyond Novell’s revenue objectives for SLED10, there’s some really good thinking there. The SLED10 team essentially takes an approach that says, let’s try make this feature something that gives users a better experience on Linux than on other platforms. Desktop Linux needs a lot more of that kind of thinking.)

So, to that end, another one of the interface improvements coming up in Service Pack 1: you now know when SLED 10’s Desktop Search engine (Beagle) daemon is still indexing your data: a simple visual cue and message lets the user know what’s going on so that they can search with confidence, knowing that the indexing service is still laboring away faithfully for them.

It looks like this:

beagle-status-message.png

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