I'd like to know what is the current trend when it comes to options in a list of items.

Is it better to have a right-click menu like this: Right-click menu

Or, buttons at the bottom of the list which enable/disable based on the items like this:

Buttons at the bottom


  • Right-click menus are secondary, shortcut, actions. It should never be your primary form of interaction. – Nicholas Pappas Jul 17 '17 at 13:46
  • Then, would opening or editing an item be considered a secondary action? – John Kouraklis Jul 17 '17 at 14:28
  • Rephrasing: Right-click menu's should never be the only way to perform the action. So, there should be a way to open/edit an item somewhere else in the UI -- the right-click menu is a shortcut to that action. – Nicholas Pappas Jul 17 '17 at 14:51

Why not both? Experienced users could use right click in order to get the options that they are looking for. And less experienced users might look for the option that fits them. In this way, you support both groups of people.

Talking about trends, I can give my insight about web applications only. Although I believe that it can be used in more cases than web. This example is taken from Dropbox.


  • If I have both options, wouldn't this make the UI packed? The example from Dropbox is an option I considered but not per item as the image shows but for the whole list – John Kouraklis Jul 17 '17 at 13:14
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    Why do you think that it would make it packed? Since one option happens on the right click and one when you click the button.If you had to keep one option, I would suggest that you keep the visible one. But I don't see why it can harm keeping both. (Design remark: I would advise you to add clear labels under the buttons as well. ) – Dimitra Miha Jul 17 '17 at 13:21
  • If you have 6-7 actions, then you need 6-7 buttons. Wouldn't this pack the UI? About the labels: there is a hint when the user hovers the buttons – John Kouraklis Jul 17 '17 at 14:30
  • maybe you could show the user the most used actions and not so used actions under: "See more" – Dimitra Miha Jul 17 '17 at 14:39
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    If you haven't got room for 6-7 (or whatever) buttons, then right-click may be your only choice. @JohnKouraklis I think what Dimitra is saying is that if you have got room, use both (because allowing right-click takes up no more room). Also, "hovers" are better than nothing, but without labels, you might have to hover over several buttons to find the one you want. – TripeHound Jul 17 '17 at 15:23

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