Considering I've been on StackExchange for some time, I figure I should know where the search bar is by now. However, I had a bit of a mental lapse when I came here today to look for a particular question.
I knew there was a function on the site somewhere, but on a quick glance I just couldn't see it. I had to look around for a good minute or so, and was almost ready to use the "Ask Question" button (to get to the "Similar Questions" and "Questions that may already have your answer" lists) instead before I finally noticed it up next to the FAQ page link.
I think a few things in combination are what particularly made it difficult.
- The search field is translucent black, against a translucent black background.
- The border around the search field is grey, and not particularly thick.
- The word "search", while formatted differently than the other link text on the same bar, isn't formatted in a way to be particularly prominent.
- The search bar is in the top (don't know what it's really called) utility bar of the site - not down in the main page, along with other main functions like "Ask Question".
On just about every other SE site I frequent (SOFU, Gaming, Sci-Fi, IT Security) the search bar is a different color than the surrounding bar, and the word "search" stands out a bit more against that background as well as in comparison to other options on the utility bar. This is the only site where I've really noticed it's particularly subdued.
Since search is really a core function of this site, I think it should be either placed or formatted much more prominently than it is now. Could this be changed?