Do you get an F, er, do you get a Ctrl-F? To be more precise, do you know how to use Ctrl-F to find a word on a web page or within a document? It seems that the vast majority of people do not. According to Dan Russell, a search anthropologist at Google,
90 percent of the US Internet population does not know that. This is on a sample size of thousands I do these field studies and I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve sat in somebody’s house as they’ve read through a long document trying to find the result they’re looking for. At the end I’ll say to them, ‘Let me show one little trick here,’ and very often people will say, ‘I can’t believe I’ve been wasting my life!’
I am amazed that this problem still exists. I bumped into in in 1998 with the staff at a major university. I was presenting some new software to them and the workers wanted a special web page that would let them find one item in a long list. I suggested that they simply type Ctrl-F to find it and that was not acceptable; they did not know how to use it. Now, 13 years later, it seems that nothing has changed.
If this is all Greek to you, try this:
- Make sure that you are actually reading this article on my CheerfulCurmudgeon.com web site. If you are reading this on Facebook or in an RSS reader, click the link so that you are actually on my web site.
- Type Ctrl-F and then “software” (without the quotation marks). Your browser will jump down to the first occurrence of the word “software” on the page.
Thanks to The Atlantic for bringing this to my attention.