I'm currently working on a project mostly based on a search mecanism. I'm trying to explore different ways to quickly come back to the homepage from the search results page. The homepage is actually the empty state of the search field (with some search suggestions).

Here is one of the solutions :

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The idea is to use a kind of "pull to refresh" interaction to progressively come back to the homepage by deleting the search query letter by letter.

EDIT: The point of this interaction is not to delete parts of the search query, it's to come back to the empty state of the search field. And the progressive deletion of the query just helps (I hope) to understand this interaction. At the end this interaction has only 2 results : you either come back to the empty state if you pull enough or you just release the pull to cancel the interaction and keep the app as it is. There is no way to delete only few letters to edit the query.

What do you think about this kind of interaction ? Do you know any product that use a similar solution ?


PS : Here is a link to the very quick and dirty prototype that I created to test it : https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1481872/proto/pull-to-empty-2.framer/index.html

  • May I ask what you used to create that proto please? Mar 27, 2015 at 8:49
  • I used framer js (it's one of my first prototypes with framer so it's a bit buggy). Mar 27, 2015 at 13:50

3 Answers 3


Don't do it

There are several reasons:

  1. Pull-to-refresh is a very common mobile UX idiom. You are asking users to unlearn the idiom and learn some other behavior in its place, which is going to feel unintuitive at best and annoying at worst.

  2. You are asking the user to slide vertically to delete horizontally, which is going to feel very weird since there is no correspondence of motion.

  3. It seems rare to have users want to delete characters one by one in a search box. Often users will either replace the search term or edit it inline using cursor and keyboard. So while the slide-to-delete behavior seems to come at high cognitive cost (above), the benefits seem marginal.

Hope that helps

  • Sorry, I now realize that my explanations were not clear at all! I just edited the main post. The goal is not to edit the search query (that's not possible with this solution), the goal is to come back to the empty state of the app. But you might be right on the first point, that's definitely something to keep in mind. Thanks a lot for your help! Mar 27, 2015 at 13:54
  • Sure thing, good luck!
    – tohster
    Mar 27, 2015 at 17:01

I don't think deleting letter by letter is a good thing : User doesn't want to pull for 10s if he wrote a long word/sentence.

Besides, the idea to coming back few step backward by deleting some characters in the search is nice, just do it according to the size or syllabe by syllabe.

EDIT : Don't forget to add a simple visual content to make the gesture is an instinct from user.

Something like a little \/ on the bottom of the search bar maybe?

Are you using left/right sliding? You could have selection or cancel gesture to navigate through the result.

  • You're right, the way we delete the query depends on the length of the query ! This way, the pull interaction always takes the same amount of time to go from "search query" to "homepage". Mar 26, 2015 at 15:48
  • Thanks a lot! You're right, the direction of the slide and some visual cues would help a lot to understand the interaction. I'm not sure to understand what you suggest when you talk about "selection or cancel gesture", but the app makes currently no use of left/right sliding. Mar 27, 2015 at 13:56
  • Select a result from the search -> slide left // Come back to search results -> slide right
    – Yohann V.
    Mar 27, 2015 at 14:13

Why not have a sticky search button somewhere within the UI? (preferably at the bottom so the users can tap it faster)

  • Yes, that's definitely another solution that I'm trying to explore. What I really like about the pull to empty solution is that 1) as I progressively empty the query, I understand what is happening and I can avoid mistakes (vs a "hard cut" button) and 2) this shortcut could be used with other solutions (for instance a classical "empty field" button in the search field). Mar 26, 2015 at 15:57

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