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What We Learned from Participants
Selection Vs. Activation

  • GUIs don't work like the web
  • How do you cut and paste a URL - not easily!
  • Let applied research rethink the object model for web browsing
  • Turn off underlining? Get real. Rethink a better solution (is it really a problem?)

Although not directly addressed in this workshop, the problem of selection on the web inadvertently comes up. In a traditional Graphical User Interface (GUI) selection of any object and activation (initiating an action on the object like cut, copy, or print) are separated. Selection by clicking once on the object and then activation by choosing a menu item, a keyboard command, or other method. Double clicking, a short cut for selection and activation only works generally for one (hopefully the primary) action for that object. On the web, we have changed this model to a simplistic combination (i.e., clinking on a link selects and activates it). This will have to change to mature the web design paradigm, as more functionality will be embedded into a link. It can change in one of two known ways; going to the model that GUIs use or by creating a new model (possibly proposed in the XML standards). A third unknown solution might be even better, but who is going to come up with it?

In the mean time, it is critical for user expectations to maintain the blue and underlined model for links. If a user does not have both cues the power of links immediately dissolves.

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Comments: Happily Received!
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Updated: 01.20.1998