Double-click and right-click in webapps

17 Jun 2010 - 3:00am
4 years ago
15 replies
1530 reads
martinpolley
2007

What's the consensus about right-click and double-click in webapps these days? Do most people still not expect them to do anything (and so do not bother trying them)?

My gut feeling is that it's OK to use them so long as there is at least one other way of accessing the same functionality.

What do you folks think?

Cheers,

Martin

Comments

17 Jun 2010 - 7:34am
uxgrace
2010

I think that the hardest part will be to make the user understand that there is a right-click functionality. If you can take him by the hand and so him that and you really offer get value with the second set of options, then go for it. But one has to wonder if it worth the trouble.

It goes without says that all options will also lie somewhere fixed to be found.

17 Jun 2010 - 10:07am
Dave Epstein
2006

Putting stuff in the right click menu for a website is not very discoverable. So if you want to put something there then it shouldn't be essential functionality. If you want to do it, then it would most likely be for advanced users or ones that are very familiar with your site. Because of that I'd weigh the time spent implementing that feature versus spending time doing something else.

As far as double-click, you are introducing a not super common browser interaction to your website. So, I think it's also worth thinking about the value of it versus how often it will be used. Anecdotally, I've also observed in user testing that some people (especially older test subjects) tend to double click on everything cause it's what they are used to on the desktop and it works for links as well.

Dave

On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 10:15 AM, uxgrace wrote: > I think that the hardest part will be to make the user understand that there > is a right-click functionality. If you can take him by the hand and so him > that and you really offer get value with the second set of options, then go > for it. But one has to wonder if it worth the trouble. > > It goes without says that all options will also lie somewhere fixed to be > found. > > ((

17 Jun 2010 - 10:07am
Remko Vermeulen
2009

We have a web app that uses quite some desktop affordances like right click and shortcuts and I have seen in usability tests that without explanation nearly all users double click and around 65% uses right click.

In total this has been tested on in total 40 people.

Remko Vermeulen User Experience Manager

Torres Diagonal Litoral · Josep Pla, 2-Edificio B3, 1ª Planta 08019 Barcelona (Spain) Tel. +34 93 445 07 00 · Fax +34 93 445 07 01 rvermeulen@ntrglobal.com · www.ntrglobal.com

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-----Original Message----- From: ixdaor@host.ixda.org [mailto:ixdaor@host.ixda.org] On Behalf Of uxgrace Sent: jueves, 17 de junio de 2010 16:16 To: rvermeulen@ntrglobal.com Subject: Re: [IxDA] Double-click and right-click in webapps

I think that the hardest part will be to make the user understand that there is a right-click functionality. If you can take him by the hand and so him that and you really offer get value with the second set of options, then go for it. But one has to wonder if it worth the trouble.

It goes without says that all options will also lie somewhere fixed to be found.

(((P

17 Jun 2010 - 9:29am
penguinstorm
2005

From a personal perspective, I've *never* gotten used to right clicking in web apps. That may just be me and, in fairness, I once said that you'd pry my Apple single button bluetooth mouse out of my cold dead hands. I liked the single button mouse. Sadly, I bought a wireless Mighty Mouse to go with my new PowerBook. (Yes, I still call them PowerBooks.)

The problem, as Grace notes, is letting the user *know* that they can right click. It's not a behaviour that users are conditioned for on the web. Younger users have grown up with single clicking and no ability to right click. Older users rarely even find the right click button in Windows, so I wouldn't expect them to suddenly start finding it in web applications. There may be a sandwich generation which would find it natural.

Double clicking on, on the other hand, is something that's very natural for users. Older users have for *years* double clicked icons on the web that they need only single click. This happens so often that it's not hard to find examples of forms that say "Please click the submit button only once." The key here is to be consistent: don't force them to alternate between double and single clicking.

17 Jun 2010 - 10:20am
avinab.singh
2010

Well if you are looking at making your design universally acceptable then do consider Mac users who don't have a right click on the mighty mouse and have to use Mac key + Click to access the right click menu. On a personal note I have never found right click on a web interface very intuitive and I agree with penguinstorm in this matter. If you have to have a menu on click then make it available on a single click, but then you have to distinguish between items which have menus and which don't. Making the menus fly out on hover doesn't work well mobile devices and especially for touch screen devices.

17 Jun 2010 - 11:32am
penguinstorm
2005

do consider Mac users who don't have a right click on the mighty mouse

All Macs have had a right click since 2005 when the Mighty Mouse shipped.

The fact that I hate it doesn't make it less true. I feel the same way about Justin Bieber.

Apple laptops offer the ability to identify a specific corner of the trackpad as a right click (though I found it didn't work that well, and continue to Control-Click.)

20 Jun 2010 - 12:05am
martinpolley
2007

Thanks everyone for your replies and suggestions (and for confirming my gut feeling).

In this case, single-click on an item already does something. Double-click does something else. But right now, discoverability is close to zero for the double-click.

I'll have to come up with something that is more obvious...

Cheers,

Martin

20 Jun 2010 - 10:05am
elvenmuse
2010

I was never a fan of the double click... it is like a "select" and "click"; but I think used mostly in the Windows world.

> Thanks everyone for your replies and suggestions (and for confirming my > gut > feeling). > > In this case, single-click on an item already does something. Double-click > does something else. But right now, discoverability is close to zero for > the > double-click. > > I'll have to come up with something that is more obvious... > > Cheers, > > Martin > >

4 Jul 2010 - 9:05pm
Janna Cameron
2004

A bit late on this thread..

Regardless of whether there is right click on a mac.. not everybody can use a mouse. From an accessibility perspective - there needs to be a keyboard equivalent for all actions in an interface. This basically requires some type of handle (linked text, icon etc)

Janna

-----Original Message----- From: ixdaor@host.ixda.org [mailto:ixdaor@host.ixda.org] On Behalf Of martinpolley Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2010 1:23 AM To: Janna Cameron Subject: Re: [IxDA] Double-click and right-click in webapps

Thanks everyone for your replies and suggestions (and for confirming my gut
feeling).

In this case, single-click on an item already does something. Double-click
does something else. But right now, discoverability is close to zero for the
double-click.

I'll have to come up with something that is more obvious...

Cheers,

Martin

6 Jul 2010 - 6:06am
martinpolley
2007

Excellent point! Thanks Janna.

Martin



On Mon, Jul 5, 2010 at 11:05 AM, Janna Cameron <janna.cameron@desire2learn.com> wrote:

A bit late on this thread..

Regardless of whether there is right click on a mac.. not everybody can use a mouse. From an accessibility perspective - there needs to be a keyboard equivalent for all actions in an interface. This basically requires some type of handle (linked text, icon etc)

Janna

-----Original Message-----
From: ixdaor@host.ixda.org [mailto:ixdaor@host.ixda.org] On Behalf Of martinpolley
Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2010 1:23 AM
To: Janna Cameron
Subject: Re: [IxDA] Double-click and right-click in webapps

Thanks everyone for your replies and suggestions (and for confirming my gut
feeling).

In this case, single-click on an item already does something. Double-click
does something else. But right now, discoverability is close to zero for the
double-click.

I'll have to come up with something that is more obvious...

Cheers,

Martin

20 Jun 2010 - 12:02pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

Double-clicking is not an expected interaction on the web. If you do use it, however, make sure that it is used as an opening action, as it is on the desktop. Right-click menus should be thought of as contextual shortcuts. In other words, there should be a more apparent/more easily discoverable method of accessing the same functions.

21 Jun 2010 - 8:05am
Al McFarland
2008

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I'm not so sure  "double-clicking is not an expected interaction on the web...".  While it is true that early web applications, relying strictly on HTML capabilities, couldn't support the (related but separate) select vs. activate actions.  The two were one and the same, and the select/activate model so pervasive in GUI design was lost.  However, RIAs using industry-common design patterns and control libraries are helping to create a consistent "GUI style for web", bringing back the select/activate paradigm and the corresponding default action (double-click) that integrates the two actions into one gesture.

 

This is probably not needed (or appropriate) for all web-based UI presentations, but there is certainly a place in application UI design for select/activate and double-click if it can be supported, whether GUI or web...


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jack L. Moffett" <jackmoffett@mac.com>
To: "5752 nj" <5752.nj@comcast.net>
Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2010 1:28:51 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: [IxDA] Double-click and right-click in webapps

Double-clicking is not an expected interaction on the web. If you do use it,  
however, make sure that it is used as an opening action, as it is on the  
desktop. Right-click menus should be thought of as contextual shortcuts. In  
other words, there should be a more apparent/more easily discoverable method  
of accessing the same functions.

21 Jun 2010 - 1:08pm
elvenmuse
2010

I still think of double-clicking as "second class behaviour"... the closest ui element is the "checkbox"; and it is fine as it is. The double-click should be deprecated.

> > I'm not so sure  "double-clicking is not an expected interaction on the > web...".  While it is true that early web applications, relying strictly > on > HTML capabilities, couldn't support the (related but separate) select vs. > activate actions.  The two were one and the same, and the select/activate > model so pervasive in GUI design was lost.  However, RIAs using > industry-common design patterns and control libraries are helping to > create a > consistent "GUI style for web", bringing back the select/activate paradigm > and the corresponding default action (double-click) that integrates the > two > actions into one gesture. > > >   > > > This is probably not needed (or appropriate) for all web-based UI > presentations, but there is certainly a place in application UI design for > select/activate and double-click if it can be supported, whether GUI or > web... > > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Jack L. Moffett" > To: "5752 nj" <5752.nj@comcast.net> > Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2010 1:28:51 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern > Subject: Re: [IxDA] Double-click and right-click in webapps > Double-clicking is not an expected interaction on the web. If you do use > it, >   > however, make sure that it is used as an opening action, as it is on the >   > desktop. Right-click menus should be thought of as contextual shortcuts. > In >   > other words, there should be a more apparent/more easily discoverable > method >   > of accessing the same functions. > > (((Please leave al

28 Jun 2010 - 11:05pm
cfmdesigns
2004

Indeed, most people are used to double-clicking throughout their desktop for navigation, opening docs, etc. (Well, except those who set their OS to "work like the web, one click to act" , bleah.)

Ultimately, many novice and low-intermediate users don't grasp the difference between stuff happening on their desktop and in folder windows vs. in a browser. (I've seen many a newer user double-click links and buttons in a browser because they've eventually "learned" that you have to just multi-click anything to make to go due to this inclarity.) To be sure, once your browser is presenting objects other than links and forms controls, users will increasingly lose that divide between browser and desktop (which you're sort of trying to cause, yes?), and then you have a choice: force them into further confusion, or make complex objects work under a select-then-act paradigm.

-- Jim

On Jun 21, 2010, at 10:52 AM, Al McFarland wrote:

> I'm not so sure "double-clicking is not an expected interaction on the web...". While it is true that early web applications, relying strictly on HTML capabilities, couldn't support the (related but separate) select vs. activate actions. The two were one and the same, and the select/activate model so pervasive in GUI design was lost. > >

29 Jun 2010 - 2:24am
martinpolley
2007

Thanks for the additional inputs, folks. Much appreciated.

A couple of clarifications... The actual interaction is that you can click on an item (which is a node in a hierarchy) to display details about that node. Double-clicking drills down one layer in the hierarchy (displays the immediate children of the clicked node).

This is not an interaction that I designed. It has already been built; I have just been asked what I think. And I think that double-click and right click are wrong for this context. And they introduce additional problems. For example, after you double-click to drill down, how do you get back? (This is all done in-page. The URL stays the same and the Back button is disabled.)

There are several different design patterns that could be used here to good effect. Master and Detail using a tree to navigate the hierarchy. Column Browse (like the Mac's Finder). A series of drop-down lists.Etc.

I have suggested all of these as options. Now I'll just have to wait and see which (if any) will be used...

Cheers,

Martin

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