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Apple and Facebook recently implemented a darkening of their global search inputs until focused. Apple's default short input width - widening on focus is also interesting.

Apple Search Facebook Search

My first assumption is that their intention is to drive interaction with content and navigation - which can more easily be tweaked and adjusted based on analytics and usability testing rather than to the more flat algorithm generated search results.

  1. What are the benefits/risks of this pattern?

    • What other sites are implementing this pattern?
    • What other patterns/interaction design principles influenced this technique?
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Have you noticed any change in search result Also, at least for me, the facebook search field is still white. –  Jung Lee Mar 25 '12 at 21:52
    
Haven't noticed any change in the results. The black Facebook used seems to clash visually... would have thought they would have gone with a darker blue like their icon buttons to the left of search. –  Luke Charde Mar 26 '12 at 0:04
    
Interesting... Maybe they're rolling it out gradually - or A/B testing. –  Luke Charde Mar 26 '12 at 0:05
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Stack Exchange uses a "widen on first character" search box rather than a "widen on focus" one, but it's a similar idea: be unobtrusive until the user has made their intentions clear. –  David Kiger Apr 16 '12 at 15:15
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3 Answers 3

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I think this is a great way to increase users' immersion on the site/page. Both of those sites have very engaging content (for wildly different reasons) but making the search bar less visible keeps eyes on the new iPad or status updates. Greater immersion leads to more time spent on the site and higher engagement.

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I view this as primarily a design technique, that reduces the visual emphasis on search.

The eye is drawn to areas of contrast, and a large white field within a solid color jumps out in a way that a recessed off-tone does not.

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Apple is maintain the color combination, also they don't loss their color consistency.

In my account, Facebook used white color only for search box. Even-though i am not getting any color contrast promlem in FB.

The above two sites solved the user's problem. User will not struck anywhere about contact/task/history in the services.

Currently, most of the services used search option with good result pages. Like Trello, Asana and project management tools and contact management tools.

Usability is most important than the visual emphasis.

Elumalai J.

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