I'm implementing a javascript folder tree with basic explorer function: add/update/delete. It's like this:

[Menu] Add new school

+School A
-- Class A1
-- Classs A2
-----Student Tom
+School B
-- Class B1
-----Student Jerry

Currently we click on the name to show a modal box for editing. User can drags students to re-order a class. As a customer request, when the school manager right-click on "Student Tom", a pop-up menu appears that allow him to delete Tom.

My question is: is this reasonable in user UI experience? I think it's not natural for people to right-click on a website except when they want to access the default browser command (save link as,...)? Or I'm just over-thought?

My recommendation is that when the user hover on the name, a delete button appears.

  • 1
    I think your recommendation of a delete button is a good idea.
    – GrandmasterB
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 4:13
  • @GrandmasterB: I hope that too. But since there is a customer request that just go opposite, I think I would go their way if it does no harm. I'm not a UI master.
    – Hoàng Long
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 4:24
  • I think you'll be fine with a right-click if thats what the customer insists. Users will just need to be taught that the right-click menu is there because they wont be expecting it. You could possibly add something that says 'right click for options' when an item is selected.
    – GrandmasterB
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 4:35
  • 1
    I'd disagree about the 'hover to show a button' approach. As soon as you hover-off the name then the button would (presumably) disappear so you'd not actually be able to get to the button. Also as you mouse-over any element on the page you'd get flashes of buttons appearing all over the place. You'd have to have a couple of delays in there - one in place when you start hovering and another delay when you mouse-out - so many delays you might as well have gone with a click anyway.
    – JonW
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 9:04
  • I've seen a UI where hovering anywhere on a row shows edit and delete buttons, with a fade transition. It seemed natural enough.
    – Chris
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 21:45

2 Answers 2


Right clicking on the web is indeed much less used.

Hover should be avoided in my opinion, especially if there any chance this will be used on a mobile device where this isn't possible.

I'd also point out that edit and delete are related actions and in iOS in particular you often click "edit" to reveal a "delete".

Based on the usage frequency of edit vs. delete I'd stick with the left click and choose how to display the 2 options:

  • Open the edit dialog and have a button for delete
  • or on click show 2 buttons of "edit" and "delete" and continue from there.

Hope this makes sense.

  • I'm in much agreement with this view, and would go with option 1 - click = show editor. Just wanted to add that the benefit in having a delete option in the dialog is three-fold: 1) You're saving the space of a button in the toolbar (tiny bit of info for the eye to deal with); 2) Users are two clicks away from deleting something, instead of one (safer, less chance of accidental mouse click); 3) The button on the editor can say 'Delete' where on the toolbar it would normally show 'X'.
    – Izhaki
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 1:49
  • I would also consider a sliding editor rather than a dialog - the latter being more fashionable with desktop applications, but not as much with web ones.
    – Izhaki
    Commented Aug 21, 2012 at 1:50

On the web, it is counter intuitive to right click for contextual menu related to the content instead of the user agent. I would suggest a [x] button with delete functionality.

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