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I have to implement a calendar widget that triggers within a table. The use case I was given was the following:

  • If the user clicks an empty cell, today's date gets populated.
  • If the user clicks a cell containing a date, the calendar opens to that date.
  • If the user right-clicks a cell with content, the cell empties

Although, I implemented this use case, I find that right-clicks aren't intuitive for web users. As well, in IE, the context menu opens up, so it's not a great user experience.

Initially, a single click would open up the calendar, but the client found that the extra step of closing the calendar a bit annoying since the table contained 1000's of rows and a data entry person needs to populate 1000's of dates regularly.

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Hi, and welcome to UX.SE. Could you upload some pics to some image sharing service (e.g. imgur.com) and put links to these in your answer? It's a bit hard to form an answer without it (I can only say that for me it is bad UX to bind clearing action with roght click except one situation: when it is popular behavior within given system. –  Dominik Oslizlo Aug 28 '13 at 18:17
    
Does the table support keyboard nav ? Since people would interact with 1000s of rows, I would imagine it does and I would expect that to become the primary way of interacting. Does this sound right ? –  Alok Jain Aug 28 '13 at 18:26
    
Actually, the table doesn't support keyboard navigation. Essentially, it was a data table for a report, but the client wanted to add functionality to the table. It actually sounds like a much better idea to interact with it using the keyboard since it is now used for data entry. I may suggest that at the next meeting. –  mister_rampage Aug 28 '13 at 18:49
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The click to populate empty cell and edit existing cell sounds good but the right click is not very intuitive. If anything I'd say a double mouse click is an intuitive way to clear the cell. I think some users will even use double click when they try to edit the cell, to smooth out the user experience I recommend the double click should clear the cell as well as trigger a calendar to pick a new date.

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It's hard to speak to the other actions without a visual, but I wouldn't add the right-click function as you've described it. It's not particularly intuitive-- I think most users would expect a right-click to open up a menu of some kind, and it would be confusing and possibly panic-inducing to suddenly lose your cell entry when you expect a menu to pop up.

This is especially true if the overall interface is a general spreadsheet like Excel or Google Docs, because users' prior experience with these applications is going to override their willingness to spontaneously learn a new set of commands.

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