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Please fix the search UI in Safari on the iPhone.

I've been using the iPhone for some time now and overall, the interface is really slick. The buttons are consistently placed and this gives a really strong user experience. Everything appears to be in the obvious place.

The trouble is, I like to search the web and it looks like you've forgotten your own iPhone user interface rules for this area.

Let me explain

In all your other applications, the primary action button is located top-right with a secondary action button top-left.

Here's some examples:

Calendar - Add Event

Mail - New Message

Safari Basic Authentication dialog

Messages - Edit

You get the picture, right?

Over time the user learns this convention and without realising it assumes that the top-right button means "OK", "Submit", "Search" or whatever the primary action is.

Now, let's have a look at the Safari search screen

What's in the top-right button position?

Safari Search - Currently

It's the "Cancel" button i.e. the secondary action.

Oh dear. How did that get there?

At first, I thought that I was at fault because I hadn't properly learned the interface. Then I remembered one of the first observations you make when usability testing. Users blame themselves for the mistakes in the design of the interface.

That the reason I was making the mistake so often was precisely because I had learned the conventions of the user interface.

So what can we do?

The interface needs a subtle redesign. Nothing major, just an increment to correct the problem.

There are 2 options that immediately spring to mind

Option 1: Move the Cancel button to the top-left "secondary action" position

Safari Search Enhancement - Option

This should be really easy. The basic premise of the current design is left intact and the secondary action is returned to the correct place in the interface - the top-left position.

Option 2: Add a "Search" button in the top-right position and move the Cancel button to the top-left "secondary action" position.

Safari Search Enhancement - Option

We've got an additional button now, but it's consistent with the overall design of the other apps you produce.

I know you're really busy right now, especially with all the activity around the iPad, but please fit this into the next version of the OS. It is such a minor UI change, but would markedly improve the way the browser search interface works.

Best of luck with iPhone OS 4.0. I hope you bundle some of these ideas, but don't worry too much about Flash.


P.S. If you can't manage this for me, then I'd be happy to settle for Opera Mini being approved in the App Store instead - I quite like the idea of being able to browse 6 times faster than Safari.

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