When you want to change a setting in System Preferences, oftentimes you don’t want to think about where it’s located. That sea of icon options — though organized — always makes my eyes glaze over.
Since 10.6 (or 10.5?), the curser has defaulted to the search field, so the incentive to just type what you’re thinking of changing is much more direct. Just today, while searching to change the volume controller from being present in the menu bar, I noticed a subtle indication of how close Mac OS X thinks the destination preference pane is to your query. The design either indicates a foggy spotlight or a very fine spotlight over the best preference pane option.
More of these kinds of things at Finer Things in Mac, if you’re inclined.