Rearranging an existing toolbar of ours, I would like to separate between types of action buttons.
- General actions that applies to the system, e.g. Settings,
- List actions that applies to the entire list, e.g. New or Print,
- Item actions that applies to selected items, e.g. Delete and Print again.
When no item is selected, some icons are enabled, others disabled.
download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups
When a row is selected, the action buttons that applies to selected items, are lit up.
Note that the print button that earlier printed the list, now prints this selected item.
The problem is that users have a hard time learning how the system works and what the features can do for them. I believe this is party due to that the work flow is unintuitive, with actions that applies to different things are mixed with each other.
The question: Is it a good idea to separate these two types of actions graphically in some way, other than enabling/disabling the buttons? And in that case, in what way? I think three toolbars would take too much space. We already have got a right click menu on the item rows for the item applicable actions, but it is not enough to only show them there, as a right click menu could be hard to find.