Long Live the Text Box

I just read an interesting new blog post from my colleague Ken Krupa, entitled “The Mighty Text Box,” where he takes a look at implementations of search capabilities – including a historical look-back comparison of Yahoo and Google. Ken has worked with a lot of folks in a lot of organizations, both before and since joining MarkLogic, and so he’s gotten to see a wide range of user requirements. I was really struck by this observation he made about a recent client engagement:

…one of their most used and important interface features is a search box with type-ahead capability. More of their end-users interact first and often with this simple text-box-based interface than any other. What’s even more telling is that this holds true for all of their data, both structured and unstructured. So despite having a neat relational model with SQL query capability, it’s the text box that users gravitate toward first…

He points out that here at MarkLogic, we’ve built a ton of powerful capabilities into our Enterprise NoSQL database platform to help users search and query their data – after all, our founder was the architect of Infoseek’s enterprise search application – and we continue to enhance these capabilities (mostly recently by incorporating semantic technologies into our platform) to help interpret user input to enable richer comprehension of meaning and context. But from a user interface perspective, the simple text box remains king.