For whatever reason, most forum software
defaults their simple search to something I would argue that no one wants.
Here are two search capabilities I think make sense:
- Search titles, and get threads as results.
- Search individual posts, and get posts as results.
Here's what the forum does by default: Search individual posts, and get threads as results (what?
This option makes zero sense, and it's the default
. You basically are given an entire thread that has at least one
post that matched your search terms. And yes, you have to sift through the entire thread to find it. That defeats the purpose of having a search capability.
The 2 options we have to get some sane results are:
- Select "Show Posts"
- Click on "Advanced Search"
Both of these have drawbacks. But I want to assert the missing option that makes sense, and should be default: Search titles, and get threads as results.
Both the options listed above have 2 drawbacks in common: You have to do something extra for it, and none of them are what most people want in most cases. The default option I proposed makes more sense in most cases. You'll first want topics covering what you searched, then if you can't find what you're looking for, you'll want specific posts where someone has mentioned something that's harder to find. The "Advanced Search" option is what I always have to click on to get what I want. It takes me to another page where I still must select more options: a PITA.
The UI already accommodates the fix. Having two options "Threads" and "Posts". And the default option is already what I proposed (Threads). The problem is that the default (Threads) option gives you unreasonable results (as described in this post). Just have it search through titles, not posts.