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The Answer to the AnswerTips Widget

February 23rd, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

We posted a quick review of the AnswerTips Widget the other day. Unfortunately, the short review resulted in a comment that has bugged us for a couple of days. That comment, in conjunction with some user comments over on Widgetoko’s post on the same topic, has pushed us to prototype a Search Widget much like AnswerTips. In our opinion, it adds some features that we feel are beneficial to the users.

Comments are always welcomed. But, to avoid any confusion, we are not disclaiming the value of the AnswerTips widget. We happen to think it has potential. What we are doing is illustrating some features that we feel are useful to users, especially to users with the same mindset/browsing practices that we have. There will obviously be users who browse differently or think differently.

Key Features:

Currently only tested and verified to work with Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 7.

Highlight text and then press q (on this site) to see how the prototype search widget works.

Please understand that this is a prototype and does have issues. Feel free to provide feedback. If you are experiencing problems, make sure that the page fully loads. There are several test widgets on this site which cause long load times.

Categories: Widgets Tags: , , ,
  1. February 25th, 2007 at 21:45 | #1

    Ming,that’s pretty neat. I like the multi word search, and the widgets only search filter. The only issue that I ran into was waiting for the page to fully load (as you mention in your post.)

  2. February 25th, 2007 at 22:31 | #2

    Thanks for stopping by and checking it out.

    You probably just missed some changes. We got a little sidetracked integrating the widget with the site. If you try again, you will notice all search result pages have been integrated with stickiwidgets.com so viewers never really leave the site, unless they visit a result link.

    As for the page load, we have a solution for it. Unfortunately, the sidetrack meant that we didn’t work on any performance issues. This should be addressed tomorrow.

  3. February 26th, 2007 at 12:00 | #3

    The code has been updated and it should now function (be available) much earlier in the page load process.

  4. February 26th, 2007 at 12:01 | #4

    Hi StickiWidgets,

    I had another quick look at your widget and noticed one thing. When I read a web page I track where I’m reading by highlighting text. I’m constantly clicking/highlighting text.

    Given this [compulsive] behaviour your search widget keeps popping up and down and it does get distracting. I know others who read in a similar fashion, although I’m not entirely sure how common the practice is.

    Getting around this problem may be a little tricky given your onmouseup(?) event which fires. That certainly may be a good argument for why AnwerTips when with the double-click.

    I see you put in a fix to close the bubble when you click elsewhere on the page, but it appears you must click within the content area. Personally I think the onclick close-bubble event should be attached to whole page. To reproduce:
    1. Highlight text within content area.
    2. Click outside the bubble inside the content/blog-post container element and the bubble should close.
    3. Highlight some text again.
    4. Click to the far left or right of the page in the white-space, the bubble follows your click and does not close (at least in FireFox).

    Hope this helps.

  5. February 26th, 2007 at 12:33 | #5

    This is definitely a tricky issue. As we mentioned before, the issue with this concept is process flow and usability. Everyone works slightly differently and it’s hard to accommodate everyone or change everyone’s mindset.

    With your feedback we will continue to refine this widget and hopefully develop something useful. Please check back for updates periodically.

  6. February 26th, 2007 at 21:53 | #6

    2 updates for those of you keeping track.

    1) the popup information box should now close when you click anywhere in the document (even outside the main content area)

    2) the new method for activating the search is to highlight any text and then pressing q to initiate the query

    Everything, so far, has been tested on FF2 and IE 7.

    Keep the feedback and comments coming.

  7. February 27th, 2007 at 08:33 | #7

    This search widget is pretty cool. When you are ready, you should submit it for inclusion on our community samples page:

    http://code.google.com/apis/ajaxsearch/community-samples.html

    Follow these directions to submit:

    http://googleajaxsearchapi.blogspot.com/2006/08/submit-your-sample-apps.html

  8. February 27th, 2007 at 15:05 | #8

    Thanks Mark…

    We will definitely submit for inclusion on the community sample page.

  9. February 27th, 2007 at 15:53 | #9

    Update: a permanent page with instructions on how to enable this widget has been setup at

    http://stickiwidgets.com/stickiwidgets-search-widget/

  10. Chewy
    February 28th, 2007 at 11:19 | #10

    This is really, really awesome.
    I love the ‘q’ initiation. It’s a great way to stop spamming the crap out me – like others, I tend to highlight and click as I read, partly because if I get distracted by something else, I can easily see where I left off.

    Regarding user education:
    Perhaps you could have some kind of timer, where if a piece of text remains highlighted for a long period, you pop up a small div saying ‘did you know…?’.

    Or, at the top left of the screen, there’s a small div saying ‘sws enabled’ which offers more when you mouseover?

  11. February 28th, 2007 at 13:48 | #11

    Chewy, thanks…

    And those are great ideas, we’ll have to look into those suggestions.

  1. January 25th, 2010 at 15:33 | #1