Sunday, September 17th, 2006
Microsoft recently released a major upgrade to Live Search on Live. com. Here’s an overview of the Ajax-powered image search. The service is pretty snappy, a great leap in usability over “Image Search 1.0”. It’s exciting to see some bleeding-edge patterns used in a service like this.
- “Smart Scroll”. This is the Virtual Workspace pattern applied to a long list/table, or what Bill Scott calls “Death To Paging”. There’s no “Next/Previous 20 results” – you simply browse all the results by scrolling, and the page loads new images as you scroll, as well as updating the result count. There have been some nice demos along these lines, but this is the first major site to drop pagination in this way (any other examples?)
But we all know Ajax breaks REST/bookmarks/history ;).
- Scratchpad. An optional scratchpad lets you build a collection of images together for later use. You can drag images into the scratchpad, drag to rearrange them, and drag them between different collections.
- Embedded web page. Using an embedded IFrame, the original web page containing the image is shown inside the results area.
- Adjustable image size. Pull a Slider back and forth to quickly zoom the images in and out.
Happily conspicuous by its absence is the Live Search. pattern. The interface requires you to explicitly click the search button rather than continuously updating, which would have been inappropriate for this app.
All in all, a great effort and a chance to see some experimental Ajax features running on a high-profile site.
Posted by Michael Mahemoff at 3:26 pm