Contest: Design a Better Sound for Type Ahead Find
Tuesday December 17th, 2002
Aaronl writes in with news of a contest to replace the sound played when a Type Ahead Find search returns no matches. Read the full article for more details of the competition, which could be your gateway to a lucrative career in the computer alert beep creation industry.
I think most people will be annoyed if an operating system defined sound isn't used. On MSWindows, XEmacs and MSVC use "Default Beep" to indicate a failed incremental search -- to use any other sound would be silly.
Personally, I don't think any sound should be used. It's a completely visual feature -- watch the search happen as you type, so you don't have to type more than you need to. Using sound in this case is redundant, and likely annoying. There may be some who think sounds will benefit those users who have to look at the keyboard when they type, but, in my experience, people who don't type well won't use this kind of feature anyway. Windows Explorer has always had this feature, but no matter how much I implore some people to "just type the first three letters and it will take you right there" most people would rather just mouse around, even when it takes them an order of magnitude longer to find what they're looking for.
I've always preferred the way Borland C++ Builder/Delphi/Kylix does incremental searching, because it simply ignores unfound characters -- I can mash out "mozoibllla", and it will match "mozilla" (unless it finds another word that starts with "mozoib"). I find that really useful, siince I'm kind of a slloppy ttyperist. Mozilla, MSVC, and XEmacs would beep, stop at "mozo", and force the user to hit backspace one or more times before allowing the search to continue - not very ideal.