We have a tree with one click to select and double click to expand. This works well for our users and is something that would be better to keep unchanged.

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Now we need to add another action to some of parent elements - to open this parent's content in a new window (this contains not only child elements, but also additional info about the parent). What could be the best option for this?

Considered solutions:

A) Add "open" to the action bar - not ideal, because an action which is detached from its object may be not obvious and users may not look at the action bar.

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B) Add a button on the parent element - if add it on every element it will be too many buttons. Maybe add to only the selected one, then the question is where to place it.

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2 Answers 2


B) Is less more direct and less stateful, and since the icon can be directly selected. B can be implemented without requiring two concepts for selecting items.

A) Requires user to understand double selection, and indicating two kind of selections - one for checkbox, one for focus. Does the 'OPEN' button open the visually highlighted item? Or all the item i've checked? Or all the items i've checked?


The solution A) does require multiple clicks from user: select item, then click 'open' in header to open it. Depending on the hight of the tree the distance between the actions might be significantly large so additionally to the two clicks there might be quite a mouse move to do.

Solution B) still needs two clicks (the way I interpret your solution) first to select the item and then the icon to open is displayed. But the advantage is that the action is where it is needed and it is clear that the action is meant for that specific item.

To reduce the clicks I would suggest to present the open icon an all items where the opening is possible. So a user can directly click on the open icon instead of first selecting the item and then click again on the open icon. enter image description here

  • At a minimum it needs to appear on hover AND select in order, as you said, to prevent needing two clicks. Commented Jun 18, 2021 at 15:36

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