As BlackBerry devices allow users to access content both on their device and remotely, search becomes an increasingly important feature for users. Search is a gateway to content for users and it's important to make the search experience both easy and streamlined.

Users can use the Search field on the Home screen to search for items in any application on the device, including third-party applications. The search can also include content that is not stored on the device, such as an organization's database or a website.

This screen shows a search field and search results on the Home screen.

Users can also use a search field in an application to search for items in that application. For example, users can search for an email message in a message list, a song in the Media application, or a contact in the contact list. In some cases, you might want to display search results from other applications.

In some applications, the search field appears on the screen. In other cases, search is available from the full menu, the pop-up menu, or the toolbar. If a large number of search results is returned, you can allow users to narrow their search to a field or a group of fields. For example, if users search the message list, they can use the drop-down list to the right of the search field to narrow their search to the To field or the Subject field.

This screen shows a search field and search results in the Contacts application.

Users can perform the following actions in a search field:

User goal

Action using the navigation keys

Action using a touch screen

Action using a physical keyboard

Open a highlighted item in the search results.

Click the trackpad.

Tap the screen.

Press the Enter key.

Display a pop-up menu with actions for a search result (for example, call a contact).

Click and hold the trackpad.

Touch and hold a search result on the screen.

You can register content in your application so that it can be included in search results. You can also register your application as a way for users to extend a search. For example, if users search for a song in the Media application and do not find the song, you can allow users to search your application as an alternative source of search results.

Best practice: Implementing search

  • For content that is not located on the BlackBerry device, start the search after users submit the search. Do not start searching as users type. This approach helps to minimize network traffic.
  • Consider terms that users might use to search for content in your application and register those terms with your application. For example, users might type "time" to find the Clock application.
  • Be selective with the content that you register to include in search results. Only register content that provides meaningful search results for users.
  • If users type characters with accents, only provide search results that contain accented characters (for example, "résumé"). If users type characters without accents, provide search results that contain both unaccented and accented characters (for example, "resume" and "résumé").
  • Make sure that users can search by saying the search terms in addition to typing the search terms.
  • Try to present the most relevant items at the beginning of the list of search results. For example, if users are looking for a restaurant that has several different locations, display the restaurant that is closest to the user's location at the beginning of the list of search results.
  • In the search results, bold the text that matches the text that users type. This approach helps users see why each item appears in the list of search results.
  • If users need to search for a word on a screen (for example, in a message or webpage), use the term "Find" in the Menu.

Implementing search fields

  • How you allow users to access the search feature depends on how often you expect users to search in your application. If you expect search to be a primary task on a specific screen (for example, in collections of information such as Contacts and Memos), then position the search field below the title bar. If search is not the primary task on a specific screen, then provide access to search through the full menu, pop-up menu, shortcut key, or simply by allowing users to type on the screen. For example, in Messages, Calendar, and Social Feeds, the primary task is to send and receive information in a timely manner, not to search for items.
  • Set the default focus to the search field. When the search results appear, set the default focus to the first item in the list of search results.
  • In most cases, use the term "Search" as hint text in the search field. If your application searches different sets of content, provide more specific hint text. For example, if the search only includes music, use "Search music" as hint text.
  • Do not make search fields case-sensitive.
  • Do not assign shortcut keys for a screen that includes a search field. If you want to use shortcut keys, provide alternative search functionality. For example, allow users to search for messages in a message list using the menu.

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