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Here the user is pressing his finger down on the period (".") key. Five choices pop up, and one in fact is then filled in for him in the above URL line.

But what if he doesn't want any of these choices?

Well the moment he releases his finger the menu goes away and the ".com" is left there in the URL bar for him to clean up on his own.

Sure you might say, "No big deal. Cleaning up three letters and a dot just takes a second."

Okay, but it could have been a much longer string. And it might have been "Choose your life insurance plan."

I am asking: is there ever any justification, for omitting a simple additional "X" choice that will get the user back to the previous step?

Gboard URL entry mode

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  • you tap anywhere else to back out May 10, 2023 at 9:51
  • It's a suggestion: the user either selects a suggestion or continues with what they want to ask for. In the case of the URL, it must be a complete URL hence the example above. For free-text 'Choose your [life insurance plan] suggestions are presented below the address bar with the user free to choose or continue.
    – Peter
    May 11, 2023 at 17:11
  • One cannot just "tap anywhere else" because the moment one's tapping finger leaves the screen, the choice is confirmed. He must lift up his finger to place it elsewhere, but in lifting it up, the choice is confirmed, before he gets a change to tap elsewhere. So... too late. Jun 7, 2023 at 13:16
  • The problem comes when the user wants .info or .biz. etc. He will have to clean up one of the force-fed choices using four strokes of the delete button ( to delete e.g., ". c o m"), making him regret ever testing such shortcut buttons with contents revealed and force fed... Jun 7, 2023 at 13:20

2 Answers 2

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We need to consider the following questions: Is the user of this feature a first-time user or a heavy keyboard user? If it is a first-time user, there is indeed a certain probability that they may need to go back to the previous step. However, if it is a heavy keyboard user, they already know in advance what options will be available, so if there is no necessary content in the options, they will not use the long-press button operation. Therefore, for first-time users or inexperienced users, is it necessary to consider such interaction to allow them to easily go back to the previous step? I think it is not necessary, because the long-press to pop up more options is an efficiency feature designed for heavy keyboard users.

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  • Interesting. So sometimes allowing the first-time user to get "burned" is worth the much larger benefit to other users. Thus programs that promise to be user-friendly 100% of the time are not always the best... Jun 7, 2023 at 13:07
  • But then again, adding a 6th "none of the above, let me out of here" choice would only add 1/6th more size to the list. Jun 7, 2023 at 13:22
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Popup keyboard options on smartphones often have built-in gestures to avoid cluttering the screen. In this particular case, if the user doesn't want any of the options displayed, simply swiping up the finger will bring up none of them, which is the equivalent of the X option.

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  • Well all I know is it is like you are in a voting booth and you find you don't like any of the candidates under your finger. You need special knowledge of how not to select any. You can't just leave the situation (walk out of the booth, hang up the phone, etc.) Seems this would have legal ramifications: did the user really wish to select what he supposedly selected!? Jun 7, 2023 at 13:12

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