Earlier this year, our research team set out to learn how users search for GitLab content and to better understand their experience with our global search and advanced search tools. We spoke with 12 GitLab users individually over the course of a four-week span to get their feedback on our search capabilities.
A researcher talking with GitLab users to gather their feedback.
Our research identified that the discoverability of our search could be better. Some users had never tried out our search capabilities because they did not know we had a search bar inside of GitLab. The search bar did not visually stand out to some GitLab users, so this led them to try other means (e.g., using their web browser URL history or using another external application) to find content. In addition, we learned that even long-time users of the GitLab search bar were unaware of the kinds of content it could find. As we encouraged users to try out the search tools for our study, they would uncover new information either through exposure or by reading our documentation.
Our research helped the Global Search Product team at GitLab with future roadmap planning. Now, we need the support of our community to make iterative improvements to GitLab search tools. We have identified two actionable insight issues that you can contribute to directly to improve the search experience for all GitLab users.
Community contribution issues
- In order to make the search bar stand out, we're proposing a change to improve the contrast of the search bar in the GitLab navigation header. This change would greatly support the accessibility of our site and would assist users when looking for a way to search for content.
A visual mock-up of improved contrast for the GitLab search bar.
- Improve the search experience by providing hints about the kinds of content that the GitLab search bar can find. This change would prompt users with different ideas of what they can do with the search bar, so they can learn about our functionality without having to read through documentation.
Some examples of hints that would be shown in the GitLab search bar.
Need guidance or help? Feel free to leave a comment directly on one of the issues linked above, or find support in the "get help" section in our contributing guide.
Let's all contribute to GitLab's search!