I have to implement a calendar widget that triggers within a table. The use case I was given was the following:

  • If the user clicks an empty cell, today's date gets populated.
  • If the user clicks a cell containing a date, the calendar opens to that date.
  • If the user right-clicks a cell with content, the cell empties

Although, I implemented this use case, I find that right-clicks aren't intuitive for web users. As well, in IE, the context menu opens up, so it's not a great user experience.

Initially, a single click would open up the calendar, but the client found that the extra step of closing the calendar a bit annoying since the table contained 1000's of rows and a data entry person needs to populate 1000's of dates regularly.

  • 1
    Hi, and welcome to UX.SE. Could you upload some pics to some image sharing service (e.g. imgur.com) and put links to these in your answer? It's a bit hard to form an answer without it (I can only say that for me it is bad UX to bind clearing action with roght click except one situation: when it is popular behavior within given system. Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 18:17
  • Does the table support keyboard nav ? Since people would interact with 1000s of rows, I would imagine it does and I would expect that to become the primary way of interacting. Does this sound right ?
    – Alok Jain
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 18:26
  • Actually, the table doesn't support keyboard navigation. Essentially, it was a data table for a report, but the client wanted to add functionality to the table. It actually sounds like a much better idea to interact with it using the keyboard since it is now used for data entry. I may suggest that at the next meeting. Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 18:49

2 Answers 2


The click to populate empty cell and edit existing cell sounds good but the right click is not very intuitive. If anything I'd say a double mouse click is an intuitive way to clear the cell. I think some users will even use double click when they try to edit the cell, to smooth out the user experience I recommend the double click should clear the cell as well as trigger a calendar to pick a new date.


It's hard to speak to the other actions without a visual, but I wouldn't add the right-click function as you've described it. It's not particularly intuitive-- I think most users would expect a right-click to open up a menu of some kind, and it would be confusing and possibly panic-inducing to suddenly lose your cell entry when you expect a menu to pop up.

This is especially true if the overall interface is a general spreadsheet like Excel or Google Docs, because users' prior experience with these applications is going to override their willingness to spontaneously learn a new set of commands.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.