Shane O'Sullivan's technical blog… really ties the room together

QuickSearch:Google only faster

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on August 11, 2009

Last week I realised that the process of searching for something on the web annoyed me –  it took too many key presses, too many clicks, and opened too many tabs.  To fix this, I came up with QuickSearch.

See the video below for a demo, or you can go to the QuickSearch Home Page to install it.

How I Search

My usual workflow is that I want to search for something but I don’t want to lose the page I’m currently looking at so I:

  • Press Ctrl-T to open a new tab
  • Press Tab to move the cursor to Firefox’s search box
  • Type in my query
  • Hit enter
  • Read through results. If I see what I want I open in a new tab in case I want to open another, if not I type in a new search and reload the search results.
  • Close the search tab.

So, I’ve opened a tab that I’ll probably only want for ten seconds, I’ve had to wait for my results until I stopped typing and loaded another page, and if I want to change my search query, I have to load the page again. Then close the search tab.

How I Want To Search

The workflow I want is

  • Press a key combination to start searching.  No new window or tab should be required.  I shouldn’t have to tab to, or click, any input box.  Since Ctrl-F is used to search within a page, I decided that Ctrl-Alt-F made a sensible key combination to search the whole web.
  • Start typing, and results should start appearing.  As I type I can keep an eye on the first one or two results, and if I see something interesting, I stop typing.
  • I click the link I want, with the option of opening the link in a new tab without having to right click it and choose that option from a menu.
  • When I’m finished using the search results, just press Esc to go back to my original page.

QuickSearch To The Rescue

I’ve implemented my desired workflow in QuickSearch, and it has really sped up my navigation around the web.

For convenience, I also added:

  • Search This Site: to search just the site you’re on, press Ctrl-Alt-S
  • Search Highlighted: to search for some term on the page, just highlight that word(s) and press Ctrl-Alt-F as normal.
  • More Results: If the quick results provided by QuickSearch still aren’t enough, and refining your query doesn’t work, you can click the “More Results” link to get many, many more results from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and more using my search portal

Cross Browser Goodness

QuickSearch works on

  • Firefox, as  a GreaseMonkey script
  • Google Chrome, as an extension
  • Every other browser as a Bookmarklet.

See the QuickSearch Home Page for installation instructions.  I think you’ll very quickly find it indespensible, especially in Firefox and Chrome where it is completely keyboard operated, no mouse required.

Fully Accessible

Another strong advantage of QuickSearch is that it is fully keyboard accessible.  No mouse is required:

  • The search is launched using keys
  • All link titles are correctly labelled
  • All search results can be navigated using the tab key
  • QuickSearch can be dismissed quickly using the Esc key.

I think users with sight impairments will especially like this.


One Response to “QuickSearch:Google only faster”

  1. Will said

    This is similar to Ubiquity, which does a bunch of other things as well… You might want to check it out.

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