Scenario: I have a button labeled "New Item" which adds a new Item to a list (for example, in the image below, "New Signal" adds a new "Signal" to a list of "Signals"). Clicking on an individual Item within the list of Items presents a pop-out panel containing properties for that Item.

enter image description here

Question: Should the "New Item" button immediately display the pop-out panel for the newly-added Item? Or should that be left as an optional action for the user to take?

I can see props/cons for both:

  • Immediately select:
    • Speeds up the case where the user will be adding one Item at a time
    • Encourages all properties to be populated for the newly-added Item
    • Avoids need for the user to go find the newly-added Item within the list and select it (especially helpful when there is a long list of Items)
  • Allow user to select Item later:
    • Beneficial if the user wants to pre-create a number of Items, and then go individually select them in order.
    • Beneficial if the default state of the Item is tedious to manually create.

Is there a common keyboard control that power users would be familiar with that could be used to do one vs the other? i.e. if a certain Meta key is also pressed when clicking "New Item" (or invoking the corresponding keyboard shortcut), then I would NOT immediately select the item, allowing for the user to repetitively select "New Item"?

  • 1
    Is the properties panel optional or required? If it's optional, how often do they add a property, vs just the signal? (is that a text input? hard to decipher)
    – Mike M
    Commented Feb 21, 2023 at 22:39
  • Regarding power user keyboard modifier..."As much as possible, use the Command key as the main modifier key in a keyboard shortcut." See more... ux.stackexchange.com/questions/105654/… Commented Feb 21, 2023 at 23:17
  • @MikeM Good question, I was trying to keep the question more generic and not as focused on this specific case. In this case with the Signal, some of the Properties in the Panel must be filled out for the Signal to be functional, depending on the "type" of Signal different properties are required vs optional. But I think I see where you're going with the question - it seems that if some at least some properties are required, then forcing them to be provided right away makes sense, whereas if all properties are optional, then immediate selection could be deferred.
    – zachelrath
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 1:30

1 Answer 1


To help users achieve their goals, a program should generally follow the Pareto Principle

In this particular example, the program would be best suited to go the route of "Immediately select".

You can overcome the "the user wants to pre-create a number of Items, and then go individually select them in order" issue by adding a "create another new signal" tick-box next to a Save button (the button that saves the current signal)

Check out the screenshot below. Example of a create another issue from Jira

Not sure what you mean by "Beneficial if the default state of the Item is tedious to manually create." If things are tedious to create, why would users even create them in the first place?

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