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Is it ok to add content when the users selects and “copies” something on the page?

I was looking at an article on a newspaper website. I found the article interesting so I wanted to post it on Twitter.

Article Headline

I copied (ctrl + c) the title:

Highlighted headline

I pasted (ctrl + p) the title into my Twitter application thinking I'd have to go back and copy and paste the link in as well, but, to my surprise, when I pasted the title, the link and "Read more" came along with it.

So, this is what I expected to see when I pasted the title:

South Florida cuts water use by 20 percent

This is what I got:

South Florida cuts water use by 20 percent

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/12/2796928/south-florida-cuts-water-use-by.html#storylink=cpy

I could see how this could be helpful. It cut the step of having to copy and paste the link, but is this a bad user experience?

I can't say I was either annoyed or delighted by it, just more taken aback than anything.

  • Does this post answer any of your questions? ux.stackexchange.com/questions/18011/…
    – JonW
    May 14 '12 at 15:29
  • It's certainly similar enough that my question may be considered a duplicate. The quality of answers on that question are also very good. As far as answering my question, it seems to further the sentiment brought forth in the answers below, which amounts to "yes and no."
    – magzalez
    May 14 '12 at 15:36

You wanted to accomplish a goal and expected several steps to do that. But you completed the task using fewer steps by design even if the implementation goes against convention. This is good User Experience since task completion got easier and hopefully other users (not you obviously :-) ) will be more satisfied than before.

  • 1
    Agreed. I'd also add that the user is still in control: if you just wanted the title, you could delete the "Read more". The supposition that the user is copying the title because they want to link to the article is a reasonable one.
    – Peter
    May 14 '12 at 15:07

It depends :)

If the majority of time when people paste links they want to paste both the link and the text representing the link then it's good UX as it satisfies the user needs. They can accomplish what they want to accomplish in less time, with less clicks etc.

If the reverse is true, then it's bad UX as it will force users to adopt different strategies - pasting into intermediate formats, post paste editing, etc. - to satisfies their needs.

At the moment I'd say it was neutral in that respect.

It could also be bad if it breaks user expectations and is radically different to every other occurrence of this copy/paste pattern. Having said that, it's becoming more common so users will stop being surprised by it and start expecting it.

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