Design Preview: Search UX Enhancements

We have heard from our customers that it can be confusing to know which search to use for the different types of content in Mattermost. Some users expect to be able to find channels by using global search bar at the top. Other users expect to use the global search bar to find people. In reality, neither of these can be found here; only messages and files can be found through the global search bar.

Additionally, in workspaces with multiple teams, it can be very difficult to find what you’re looking for when you may not recall which team or channel the content may live in. Currently, you can only search the active team and cannot get results across all of your teams. There is no way to perform a keyword search across all your teams.

For this design preview, we aim to address these problems through key improvements to the search experience.

Short disclaimer: These enhancements are currently in the design phase and have not yet been slotted on the roadmap, so we do not yet have a release target. We’ll be validating these designs with customers and iterating on them over the next few months.

Solution Part 1: Combined Search

The first part of the solution brings all the core search mechanisms into one combined search panel. Rather than having to remember which search modal to use for each purpose, we are proposing one unified search experience.

This new UI brings the search for channels, messages, files, and people in one place. A tab bar across the top indicates the current search mode and users can click to change that mode. This also makes way for another feature we’ve previewed recently: Copilot search which is an AI-enhanced search method we’re working on.

Finding channels

Using the existing COMMAND-K/CTRL-K keyboard shortcut will open the new search modal, with the channel search selected. This replaces the existing ‘find channels’ modal and brings all of it’s functionality in this combined search view. Unreads and recent channels show as suggestions before you start typing. As you typing channel results narrow down by relevancy.

Finding messages

Using the COMMAND/CTRL-F keyboard shortcut will open the new search modal, with the messages tab selected. Recent searches show as suggestions before you start typing.
The existing search modifiers are still available and show at the bottom of the modal as tips. Clicking on these modifiers adds them to the search field.

Finding files

File search is another method that will carry over existing search capability into the new unified search modal. Recent searches and recently added files in your channels show as suggestions prior to typing a search. Modifiers are also available here.

Finding people

To alleviate some of the confusion we’ve heard about searching for colleauges, a new ‘People’ search tab has been added which offers the ability to find specific users you’d like to message with. Before you start typing, we show suggestions based on who you chat with most or who you may have had a recent DM with. As you type the results narrow by relevance. Clicking on a result will open the DM with that user.

Copilot search

If you have Copilot configured for search, the ‘Copilot’ tab displays in the search modal.
With this method, users can search by ‘meaning’ rather than keywords or ask specific questions to find answers from the content. We have highlighted this feature in greater detail in this forum post.

Solution Part 2: Cross-team search

As part of the Messages and Files search method, this proposal provides the ability to filter by a single team, multiple teams, or all your teams. This provides the capability to search everything they have access to in the workspace.

The search results right panel could also include the team filter to show results across all teams or a specific team of choice.

What are your thoughts?

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on these solutions. What pain points might this solve for you?

If you’d like to dive deeper in to some of the specifics around the combined search UX, have a look at our early UX spec.

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