Sunday, October 30, 2011


Windows 8 has Easy, Friendly and Faster Start Menu Search | How To Use Search Menu On Windows 8

Searching your files folders and on contents is more important to be easy, friendly and most importantly, faster. Windows 8 is not just about the design and new start menu. For professional scenarios, every keystroke matters. One new aspect of the Windows 8 platform is the ability for Metro style apps to deliver a customized search "contract."

As you install more and more apps, search tool become increasingly important. Searching from the Start menu has been established as the quickest way to find and launch apps, particularly for keyboard users.

Windows 8 has just carried forward the efficiency and dexterity of the Windows 7 Start menu search into the new Start screen. Before we go into this post, lets not forget that most of the (Windows 7) users are using the Start menu to search to launch programs rather than using it for searching for content.

The new Start search experience makes it easier than ever to search for content in your PC or in apps from anywhere in the system. It’s been designed to work seamlessly and efficiently across the range of devices that Windows will run on, and across different input mechanisms such as the mouse, keyboard, and touch.

Searching from Start in Windows 8:

Searching via the Start menu has continued to evolve with each release. The Windows 8 Start search experience builds on top of search features available in Windows 7 and provides a unique view for each of the three system groups - Apps, Settings and Files. These search result views are a natural progression from the Windows 7 groups and are easily accessible from anywhere in the operating system via the Search charm or keyboard shortcuts. Separating the search results into views means we can tailor the experience for each data type.

For example, the File search view provides you with filters and search suggestions while typing to quickly complete your query.

In Windows 8, we expect people will be acquiring and installing more apps than ever before. If Windows 8 continue to use Windows 7 Start menu search interface to search for a Control Panel item, you would always see app or program results before Control Panel results, displacing many Control Panel items from being the first match.

Windows 8, on the other hand, follows an app-first model, where each app developer understands their data and users best, and knows the best way to present the information to them.

Using the same model for search, in Windows 8, each view is tailored for the type of content you’re searching for, and shows all the results, instead of limiting them due to screen real-estate.

One change is that, file search results no longer include email messages and contacts. Just because the email application itself has a built in search, which will take care of mail and contact search.

With the app-first approach in Windows 8, Metro style email apps will use the search contract to provide a rich set of filtered search results in a view customized for email. In comparison, email clients and other apps in Windows 7 have no control over how their search results are presented.

Windows 8 paid special attention to ensuring the number of keystrokes required to find and launch apps, settings, or files is at parity with or better than in Windows 7.

Thus, Windows 8 introduce a set of keyboard shortcuts to help users quickly and efficiently get to settings search results (WIN key + W) or file search results (WIN key + F), thus reducing the total number of keystrokes needed to find and launch settings or files.

Searching apps

App search results show the full set of apps (both their “friendly” names and executable names) for which the search term matches the name. As the number of installed apps increases, it becomes difficult to browse through a large list to find an infrequently used app. Search helps quickly filter and reduce a large list of apps down in just a few key strokes. We wanted to make sure we preserved the same keyboard usage patterns as Windows 7. You don’t have to first click on the Search charm to begin searching – simply start typing in the Start screen and you’ll see your list of apps filter down to the one you are looking for.

Full-screen app search results

Figure: Full-screen app search results

Most Frequently Used (MFU)-Based Ranking:

Also note that the Most Frequently Used (MFU)-based ranking of app search results from Windows 7 is preserved in Windows 8. For example, if you type “paint” in the developer preview you get 2 apps back as search results – PaintPlay and Paint. If you predominantly just use Paint, it will be ranked higher than PaintPlay as you use it more often. So, launching Paint (or other apps you frequently use) becomes more efficient the more you use app search.

Windows 8 Start Menus Search Also Works As Run Function:

The Windows 7 Start menu also included “Run” functionality for commanding and navigating Windows. This has been carried over to Windows 8 as well—tasks like running scripts and .exes in the user’s PATH are still possible and supported in App search. Search continues to support launching folders in Windows Explorer by typing in full paths.

For example, typing “C:\” in Start search results in the set of folders in the C: drive appearing below the search box. Pressing the Down Arrow key moves selection through the list and autocompletes the folder name in the search box, allowing users to continue typing to further refine the path. You can do the same with UNC (\\foo\example) paths as well. And of course WIN key + R will switch to the desktop and bring up the classic Run dialog, just as you would expect.

Windows 8 has the Easy, Friendly and Faster Start Menu Search  Using  Search Menu On Windows 8 (2)

Figure: Typing a path into Start search

Searching settings

The settings search experience brings together all settings and Control Panel items across the system in one view. Settings search results are matched not only to the name of the Control Panel applet or task, but also to the various keywords that may describe it.

There were also some frustration that shutdown is not available as a search result, and That will be addressed along with improvements to the Start user interface for shutdown as a reminder, you can also just use the power button or close the lid.

Full-screen settings search results

Figure: Full-screen settings search results

Searching files On Windows 8:

The number of files on PCs keeps increasing over time as users continue to acquire and create more documents, music, photos, and videos. Windows 8’s goal, while redesigning the file search experience, was to make it seamless and complete so you can achieve your task of quickly finding a file without having to transition to Windows Explorer.

Search based on  Suggestions

In File search, you’ll also see search suggestions as you type to help you quickly and efficiently complete the search. The indexer provides these search suggestions based on the content and properties of files it knows about. Search suggestions are a very powerful concept made popular and used extensively on the web—they help you to pinpoint relevant search terms with just a few keystrokes.

In Windows 8 search suggestions have been build into the file search experience and also made this feature available in the platform for all Metro style apps to use.

This feature also accounts for typos or spelling errors, and suggests the auto-corrected search term as you type. Using the arrow keys to choose suggestions autocompletes the term in the box. This makes it easy to add more terms to the query and quickly narrow down the set of results to find the one you want.

You can also still search using AQS (Advanced Query Syntax) from Windows 7. AQS allows for greater precision and control when constructing the query to get targeted results. Here are some sample searches and their advanced query syntax:

Designed for touch, too:

We discussed the details of designing search for dexterity while using the keyboard, but this design works equally well for touch. To begin searching in Start, simply swipe the edge and tap on the Search charm. This opens the full list of installed apps. You can use the touch keyboard to search for a program to launch, but you can also use semantic zoom to zoom out, and then tap on the section that contains your app. Start search is lightweight, fast, fluid, and quickly gets out of the way as you pan through your list of apps, settings, or files.

The Search pane makes it easy to continue searching for the same term in other system views or Metro style apps with just one tap. Touch-friendly search suggestions minimize typing on a touch screen, and the search contract provides a framework for search suggestions that developers can use for their own Metro style apps as well. In addition, we designed touch-friendly filters with result counts in the file search view to help users quickly refine the search results set.

Start search brings apps, settings, and files together with other Metro style apps that implement the Search contract, creating a unified and consistent search experience.


About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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