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Designing Web Interfaces by Theresa Neil, Bill Scott

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Chapter 3. Direct Selection

When the Macintosh was introduced, it ushered into the popular mainstream the ability to directly select objects and apply actions to them. Folders and files became first-class citizens. Instead of a command line to delete a file, you simply dragged a file to the trashcan (Figure 3-1).

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DOS command line for deleting a file versus dragging a file to the trash on the Macintosh

Figure 3-1. DOS command line for deleting a file versus dragging a file to the trash on the Macintosh

Treating elements in the interface as directly selectable is a clear application of the Make It Direct principle. On the desktop, the most common approach is to initiate a selection by directly clicking on the object itself. We call this selection pattern Object Selection (Figure 3-2).

Files can be selected directly on the Macintosh; Object Selection is the most common pattern used in desktop applications

Figure 3-2. Files can be selected directly on the Macintosh; Object Selection is the most common pattern used in desktop applications

In this chapter we will look at the following types of selection patterns:

Toggle Selection

Checkbox or control-based selection.

Collected Selection

Selection that spans multiple pages.

Object Selection

Direct object selection.

Hybrid Selection

Combination of Toggle Selection and Object Selection.

Toggle Selection

The most common form of selection on the Web is Toggle Selection ...

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