Mozilla Confirms Majority of People Don't Use Ctrl + F
Article by George Norman
On 01 Sep 2011
Whenever I need to find a word or a piece of text in a document, I simply press Ctrl + F and type in that word. Whenever I am on a webpage and I can’t seem to locate the word that I want to find, I just press Ctrl + F. To my mind, the functionality Ctrl + F offers is so awesome that everyone takes advantage of it. Seems I was wrong.

According to an article in The Atlantic, the vast majority of users are unaware of the functionality Ctrl + F (or Command + F on Macs) has to offer. Senior Editor with The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal, interviewed search anthropologist at Google, Dan Russell, and found out that 90% of US internet population do not know how to use Ctrl + F or Command + F.


Being so convinced that everybody knows how to use Ctrl + F, I raised an eyebrow when I saw the article and I said to myself “there’s no way people don’t know about this.” Turns out I was wrong once again. Mozilla’s Metrics team saw the article, was surprised to find out about this, and decided to test it for themselves. So they ran a 7-day Test Pilot study that focused on how some 69,000 Windows users interact with the navigation bar, their bookmarks, and how they use keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl + F is a keyboard shortcut).

The Test Pilot study uncovered that 81% of people did not use Ctrl + F for the duration of the study. “While 81% is lower than the 90% in the article, Test Pilot users are usually more technologically experienced than the general population, since they are largely Firefox Beta users,” explained the Mozilla Metrics team. “When we look at TestPilot users who consider themselves beginners, the percentage goes up to 85%. Therefore, our 81% figure does not belie the Atlantic piece.”

Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Test Pilot, Study
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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