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For an application I'm developing I've been thinking about an aspect of the UI. Imagine I have an application that lets me draw shapes. I can select drawn shapes by clicking inside of them. But there's a major problem: overlapping shapes are allowed. If one shape completely overlaps the other, a user can still see it because the shape is transparent but there is no way for her to select it. Being able to still somehow select it is required.

Apart from having a list of shapes wherein the overlapped shape can be selected, is there a mechanism that is commonly employed or considered intuitive? I've been thinking about this for a while and googling around. I can think of one option: when a shape is clicked I could display little buttons next to the shape that hide the shape or show the overlapping shape again. But I feel this is not really ideal because it might be unintuitive/undiscoverable.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance, Joshua

  • I think you should add a mockup to understand better the process. – Danielillo Jul 18 at 10:22
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If the user is more experienced, You can implement shortcuts for changing the order of objects. It's friendly and fast solution.

The window can also be opened by right clicking

Another commonly using option is previously mentioned layers.

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A layers palette is the most commonly used, I would suggest, the only anomaly I've come across, bizarrely, is Balsamiq, which favours a right-click and locking of objects.

  • A right click that showed a menu that included a list of all possible items to be selected would work very easily. – Fractional Jul 18 at 11:13

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