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I'm implementing a javascript folder tree with basic explorer function: add/update/delete. It's like this:

[Menu] Add new school

+School A
-- Class A1
-- Classs A2
-----Student Tom
+School B
-- Class B1
-----Student Jerry

Currently we click on the name to show a modal box for editing. User can drags students to re-order a class. As a customer request, when the school manager right-click on "Student Tom", a pop-up menu appears that allow him to delete Tom.

My question is: is this reasonable in user UI experience? I think it's not natural for people to right-click on a website except when they want to access the default browser command (save link as,...)? Or I'm just over-thought?

My recommendation is that when the user hover on the name, a delete button appears.

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I think your recommendation of a delete button is a good idea. –  GrandmasterB Aug 20 '12 at 4:13
    
@GrandmasterB: I hope that too. But since there is a customer request that just go opposite, I think I would go their way if it does no harm. I'm not a UI master. –  Hoàng Long Aug 20 '12 at 4:24
    
I think you'll be fine with a right-click if thats what the customer insists. Users will just need to be taught that the right-click menu is there because they wont be expecting it. You could possibly add something that says 'right click for options' when an item is selected. –  GrandmasterB Aug 20 '12 at 4:35
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I'd disagree about the 'hover to show a button' approach. As soon as you hover-off the name then the button would (presumably) disappear so you'd not actually be able to get to the button. Also as you mouse-over any element on the page you'd get flashes of buttons appearing all over the place. You'd have to have a couple of delays in there - one in place when you start hovering and another delay when you mouse-out - so many delays you might as well have gone with a click anyway. –  JonW Aug 20 '12 at 9:04
    
I've seen a UI where hovering anywhere on a row shows edit and delete buttons, with a fade transition. It seemed natural enough. –  Chris Aug 20 '12 at 21:45
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Right clicking on the web is indeed much less used.

Hover should be avoided in my opinion, especially if there any chance this will be used on a mobile device where this isn't possible.

I'd also point out that edit and delete are related actions and in iOS in particular you often click "edit" to reveal a "delete".

Based on the usage frequency of edit vs. delete I'd stick with the left click and choose how to display the 2 options:

  • Open the edit dialog and have a button for delete
  • or on click show 2 buttons of "edit" and "delete" and continue from there.

Hope this makes sense.

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I'm in much agreement with this view, and would go with option 1 - click = show editor. Just wanted to add that the benefit in having a delete option in the dialog is three-fold: 1) You're saving the space of a button in the toolbar (tiny bit of info for the eye to deal with); 2) Users are two clicks away from deleting something, instead of one (safer, less chance of accidental mouse click); 3) The button on the editor can say 'Delete' where on the toolbar it would normally show 'X'. –  Izhaki Aug 21 '12 at 1:49
    
I would also consider a sliding editor rather than a dialog - the latter being more fashionable with desktop applications, but not as much with web ones. –  Izhaki Aug 21 '12 at 1:50
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On the web, it is counter intuitive to right click for contextual menu related to the content instead of the user agent. I would suggest a [x] button with delete functionality.

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