Wednesday, November 11, 2009's Improved "Edit Search" Feature announced last weekend that they were modifying the "Edit Search" feature in the "New Search" experience. See Anne Mitchell's post "Refine your searches in fewer steps in new search" on the blog.

Before yesterday, the user had two ways to change the search field entries in "New Search" - click on each individual search field title and add or edit the entry information, or hit the "r" Hot Key to get a popup window with all of the search fields and their current entries to "Refine the Search." I really liked the hot key option and used it almost exclusively.

Now, has eliminated the first method of clicking on each search field title, and has added an "Edit Search" button that brings up the popup window with all of the search fields and their entries, and the user can add or enter information.

Here is an example:

I was on the Military Collections page yesterday, and at the bottom of the page I selected the "Advanced Search" feature (I almost always use this advanced search) and checked the "Exact Matches" box (I almost always use exact matches too). I added my father's name, First Name = "fred*" and Last Name = "Seaver," in the search fields:

After clicking "Search," I got 122 matches in the Military Records collection:

Over on the left-hand column at the top, under "Searching for ..." is the current search parameters - only the name entries. The "Edit Search" button is in green (and below it is a link for "Start a new search"). I clicked on the green "Edit Search" button and the popup window with all of the search fields and my current search entries appeared as an overlay to the previous screen:

I refined my search by adding the Birth Year = "1911" and clicked on the "Search" button at the top of the box. I got only one match:

But that was the only one I was interested in. Actually, I was hoping that he would be in a US Navy Cruise Book, but they don't have them posted for World War II.

The "Edit Search" button brings up the same popup "Refine Search" window that the Hot Key "r" brings up (and that feature still works). The hot key saves a click - I find it easier and quicker to type "r" with my left hand than to move my mouse to the Search box and click it with my right hand.

So, THANK YOU, for making the "Edit Search" box easier to use than the previous clunky list of search fields that had to be clicked individually (unless you used the Hot Key "r"). It is much more intuitive this way, I think, and the user still has total control over the entries in the Search fields, and can do it in fewer keystrokes or clicks, including whether to make each field entry exact or not.

And THANK YOU,, for the "Search" button at the top of the Refine Search popup window. It's much easier to click on it there than to have to scroll down and click on it at the bottom of the Search box. Now, please, add it to the other Search boxes too!

These changes apply only to the "New Search" experience, and not to the "Old Search" experience. Of course, in "Old Search," the Search fields are all available on any Results list screen so the user only has to scroll to the bottom (or hit the "End" key) of the screen to see the current search field entries and to modify them to refine the search. The "Old Search" procedure now has more clicks and scrolls than the equivalent "New Search" procedure.

Most users understand that, at some point in time, the "Old Search" experience is going to be eliminated and everybody will have to use the "New Search" experience. Hopefully, will wait to do that until all of the kinks and quirks associated with "New Search" are ironed out (see yesterday's post for a major problem area which will, hopefully, be fixed soon).

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate with I am a dully paid subscriber to the service. These thoughts and opinions are my own, and I have not been reimbursed in any way for this post.

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