Say I have a list of rows in a grid/list/table, where the user can select multiple rows and delete them together. In which case, selecting/focusing which row after deletion gives the most intuitive experience for user?

E.g. In the below image I have rows 1, 2, and 4 selected (with focus on 2nd row). If I remove them which row should have focus/selection next? enter image description here

Some of the answers I can think of:

  1. Select/focus nothing.
  2. Select nothing but leave focus on 2nd index (after deletion it would be Id 5 row). I think this is what windows file explorer does.
  3. Always select the first row.
  4. Id 3 row - the first row after one of the deleted rows.
  5. Id 5 row - the first row after the last deleted item.

I find options 1, 2, 3 weird. 5 is the most commonly seen choice?

2 Answers 2


Do you have a default selection when navigating to this grid/list/table? This action seems to be predicated by the user selecting multiple rows, so I don't know how much value applying a new, default selection would bring.

If you have a default row (such as the first) when opening/navigating here, as a user that same consistency after deletion could be expected, but I lean toward no selection. That being said, if deleting rows is the main purpose of this grid/list/table and users' use case is commonly reviewing items in the table top to bottom, assuming there are lots of items that extend beyond one page height, I could see an argument to use the next row after the last deleted as the focus.

Can you explain your use case/context for this table more?

  • It's a very normal CRUD operation grid view, where user can add/edit/remove rows. I dont have a default row (except the first row which is default only the first time the screen is shown). And yes rows can go beyond one page's height.
    – nawfal
    Jul 29, 2020 at 19:41
  • 2
    In that case I think the experience would benefit from focusing on the next row after the last deleted, to retain the user's place in the table, assuming the viewport uses that new focus as an anchor when refreshing the table after deleting items (you don't end up at the top of the table after delete function). Hope that helps your decision
    – BK Allen
    Jul 30, 2020 at 17:27
  • 1
    Agree: focusing next row is what user does expect. Otherwise good option is to check out what excel does :)
    – baHI
    Aug 4, 2020 at 8:34

The most adequate option is the first visible row. When you are deleting several non consecutive rows, the user focus will be lost anyways, so focusing the first visible row will give a known point of reference.

Any other option will focus a row at a random position, as you don't know where will be the focused row after the deletions (the other rows will move up), so if focus indicator is not very clear (like in the case of your screenshot, that is just a dashed border), the user won't be able to clearly see which row was focused.

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