Keyboard usage with AwesomeBar HD

Ed Lee

For those looking to try out AwesomeBar HD but are concerned about it being a click-focused interface, the Prospector team is glad to help you get more use out of the new location bar.

First off, a number of existing behaviors still work with the add-on enabled:

  • Ctrl-L focuses the location bar with the url selected — ready to copy, edit or replace
  • Ctrl-K pre-fills with “search: ” so you can search the web just like from the search bar
  • Ctrl-T + tab opens a new tab and activates search (as if you tabbed to the search bar)

A note about first opening a new tab then pressing tab to search — any search (including category searches) will open the results in a new tab. But if you prefer to think about your search on an empty tab free from distractions of the previous page, this option is available for you. Also, for those curious, the search results are being pre-fetched, so hopefully by the time you press enter, the results page is ready for you to use.

One related side effect of defaulting to opening new tabs is that replacing pinned app tabs is a bit more difficult. You actually can’t change the url of an app tab with AwesomeBar HD installed because the url will open up in a new tab. So for now, you’ll have to remove the app tab or create a new one.

With so many tabs with different searches, AwesomeBar HD also makes sure to keep track of what you’ve typed (or didn’t type) in each of the tabs. So if you left some text in the location bar in one tab, it won’t stay there when you switch to another tab, and when you switch back, the test will be restored.

Activating categories with the keyboard

Highlighting 'books' for 'boo'

The initial version of AwesomeBar HD indicates what category can be activated by pressing tab, so if you type out the beginning of a category, e.g., “boo” for books, just press the tab key to activate. This blue highlighting behavior is a bit too subtle, so we’re looking into ways in better conveying this to you.

Search activated with tab

Notice that “boo:” is good enough to activate the books category (it turned green), so if you wanted, you could just type “b:” to get books as well.

Additionally, once you’ve got a category activated, you can continue to press tab to cycle through the other search providers within that category. So in this case, two presses of tab switches to Google Books from Amazon.com Books search. Next time you type “b:”, it’ll remember to use Google.

Try out AwesomeBar HD on Firefox 4, and leave feedback or submit issues or suggestions.
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