Slick search-driven Flash UI

Given that discovering the graphical UI (specifically, MacPaint) was a life-changing event for me, it’s a little funny that I find myself so interested in search as a UI tool.  But as we’ve said many times now, categorization goes only so far.  Once you get beyond a certain number of things (pictures, emails, menu items, etc.), you need some form of type-to-find.

Photoshop UI designer Andrew Lin points out the site for design firm S-W-H, which features a slick, easy-to-use search function (including auto-complete).  Coupled with the blazing fast transition animations*, it gives you a sense of flying through a large body of work.  Bonus: Typing “foo” (and lots of other things) treats you to the sounds of people excitedly going off in Dutch.

For a counterpoint, check out the frankly terrible interface for HBO’s John From Cincinnati site (too bad, as I’m digging the new show’s tripped-out profane-cowboy-meets-longboard lingo).  The site loads by promising a carousel of content, but it then immediately hides said content, making you guess about search terms (kind of hard if you’re new to the show, eh?).

Tangentially related bits:

  • Inquisitor beautifully integrates predictive searching into Safari.  Trust me, you want this (just like PicLens… and Saft).
  • Apropos of time lapses (see recent), Andrew made quite a number during his tenure with a certain fruit company.  Hypnotic, but burning cars & tail lights make me remember why I traded commutes on 280 for a 10-minute bike ride.

* With animation effects in general I’m reminded of a quote  from Alan Cooper: “No matter how beautiful, no matter how cool your interface, it would be better if there were less of it.” A little goes a very long way.

PS–If you know of other cool, powerful search UIs (Flash or otherwise), please share ’em.

0 thoughts on “Slick search-driven Flash UI

  1. If you know of other cool, powerful search UIs (Flash or otherwise), please share ’em
    I’m still deciding on it’s usefulness but there is, of course, Apple’s new top search menu. It sure has that Web 2.0 glow and uses open ajax libraries.
    [Ooh, I like that–hadn’t seen it before, so thanks. It’s a little odd that typing “Motion” doesn’t offer the Motion product page as a result, but I like the little icons and descriptions. If you’re into this, you really should install Inquisitor (link above). –J.]

  2. The S-W-H search UI is fun, fast, and full of surprises (search on “jiggy” for instance).
    But, it’s not very good at finding things. Let’s say you love puppies – type “p” then “u”and the auto-complete may help you stumble upon their campaign for “Pure Jazzfest”.
    Now, search for “jazz”. It appears they didn’t do that work.

  3. The S-W-H staff directory (search “people”) is pretty fun, though I could imagine it’d get pretty annoying if you were actually trying use it (e.g., copying down somebody’s name…)

  4. Funny thing about UIs. I’ve been thinking about writing a critique entitled “The User Interface as Video Game” or “The Video Game as User Interface” ever since first Apple then Microsoft got into the glitz business and apparently lost track of the fact that some of us use computers to actually get work done (a lesson Adobe has NOT forgotten — thank you for that). My own First Law of computing has long been: “The most user-friendly thing you can do with a computer system is speed it up.” Not that I’m a minimalist; I just object to animation for animation’s sake, when it adds time to things that should be instant.

  5. >I just object to animation for animation’s sake
    Moi aussi (less boring than ‘me too’!)
    Which is where a lot of Flash sites (S-W-H being a case in point) fall down.
    Oddly enough, I can handle a non-interactive animation well enough, as long as it’s unobtrusive, but jumping buttons get right up my nose.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *