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Status Future consideration
Categories Whiteboards
Created by Ian Babelon
Created on Dec 15, 2023

Text search for content (Notes, Textboxes) in Whiteboards

Who would benefit?

All Whiteboard users: creators, regular users, collaborators, viewers, occasional visitors...

What impact would it make?

Make it easier for all users to find specific content within Whiteboards. Text search would be an obvious start.

As a Whiteboard creator, I know some content is somewhere in a Note or Text Box in the Whiteboard, but forgot its exact location. Also, visitors to the Whiteboard are likely to be even more clueless than I am, and may struggle to find exactly what they want without panning and zooming in and out of the whole Whiteboard, not to mention multiple related Whiteboards.

Problem: currently, one cannot perform a search for text content using 'Ctrl + F' and 'Search documents'. 'Ctrl + F' is not able to identify text within whiteboards as text. It seems that the content of the Whiteboards is not searchable as data, but treated as a self-contained non-searchable environment. However, actual notes (documents) can be searched with Ctrl + F and that works well.

The ability to search for text is available in Miro which gives it another competitive edge.

This said, Whiteboards in Aha! have improved in terms of ease of use and range of features in the past months/year, so kudos to the designers, developers etc.

How should it work?

Option A: a universal search bar with 'Search whiteboard' or 'Search this document' as prompt, located for example next to the Share button or the horizontal ellipsis (three dots '...') menu.

Miro enables one to search all types of content, and the returned results provide a hyperlink to their exact location, which makes finding things (almost) like breeze.

Option B: enable 'Ctrl + F' to retrieve text-based content on a page that has a Whiteboard. That probably means surfacing the content as data for the browser.

Having multiple options for searching content might cater for different user expectations and preferences.

Additional thoughts:

Option C (blue-sky thinking): enable to search every type of content within one whiteboard, for example using the names of uploaded pictures as cues or as a basis for semantic tags.

Option D (blue-sky thinking): enable to search all types of content across multiple whiteboards within a folder, a workspace, as feasible.

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