Just like my last question, i have another terminology related question.
In my drawing app, the user can set a logic line which can detect other objects touching or passing the line and removing those objects if they do.

There are 3 settings to this line:

  • Touch (respond when objects touches line)
  • Clockwise (respond when objects pass the line clockwise)
  • Counter-clockwise (respond when objects pass the line counte-clockwise

The user can use the anchors of the line to move the line around as such:

User moves line, and the arrow moves with it

Now, during testing... i stumbled upon a bit of a thinking error. If the user moves the other anchor around, the line effectively becomes a "COUNTER-clockwise line", but with the "Clockwise" settings.

Like so:

Creating a counter-clockwise from a clockwise line

Is calling the options clockwise/counter-clockwise still a good idea if this kind of behavior is possible.

I thought of a few solutions to solve this like automatically change the setting from clockwise to counter-clockwise (which is basically already at a 0.00001 degree turn of the lower anchor) or making only the top anchor movable (which made working with the logic lines a lot more frustrating). But i think the main problem is just the labeling of the settings.

  • 2
    Your current UI is definitely confusing. It isn't clear that the drop-down even relates to the line, let alone what the cryptic word in it is talking about. Can you not demonstrate the property of the line object with some visual state of the line itself?
    – Racheet
    Jan 6, 2014 at 10:50
  • The UI shown is just for this questions sake...the combobox is 1 part of the settings frame for this specific line. The cryptic word defines if the arrow on the line will be shown on the right or left side of the line. However, if the user rotates the line, the value basically gets reversed.
    – DennisW
    Jan 6, 2014 at 12:30
  • 2
    How can you pass a line in a clockwise direction? Or counter-clockwise, for that matter?
    – Fractional
    Jan 6, 2014 at 12:49
  • 1
    I'm going to guess that you mean passing from one side to the other? In that case surely you only need 2 options (touch and pass) with the direction of the arrow on the line determining which passing events you respond to.
    – Fractional
    Jan 6, 2014 at 12:53
  • Can the user set the values of the "origin" and "termination" points in your settings frame, or a value for the rotation of the line (based off one of those points)? Feb 5, 2014 at 23:48

2 Answers 2


Clockwise and counter-clockwise are definitely the wrong terminology here.

I think you will want to say:

  • Pass from above
  • Pass from the left
  • Pass from the right
  • Pass from below

The wording should change based on the angle of the line and the direction of the arrow. A line that is more horizontal will only have the options to select "above" and "below", whereas a line that is more vertical will only have the options to select "left" and "right".

  • So you are saying that the contents of the combobox should adapt in correlation of the angle of the line? So if the user draws a line, then sets the line to "Pass from the left"... THEN rotates the line 180 degrees (which makes the arrow point from right to left now), the combobox should change to "Pass from the right".
    – DennisW
    Jan 7, 2014 at 15:02

From a UI point of view the automatic detection makes sense and, if possible, icons may be better, for example circle for touch and broken circles with arrows for clockwise, counter clockwise. I know I have to think about what counter clockwise means, and it's likely the user will have to work that out as well which breaks the flow of your interface.

From a UX point of view (UI not being UX as we all should know by now), I can't help wonder what the context is behind wanting this functionality. It's hard to recommend a better solution without some kind of scenario of use.

  • Here's a little context.... You've drawn a marble track and let the marbles go down some path. Now the user wants that something happens at a specific part of the track. So the user draws a "logic line" on that part.
    – DennisW
    Mar 13, 2014 at 15:59
  • Here's a little context: You've drawn a marble track and let the marbles go down some path. Now the user wants that something happens at a specific part of the track. So the user draws a "logic line" on that part. Now, the user only wants to affect the marbles crossing the line from the left to the right. So the user sets the logic line to CLOCKWISE.... i.e., only the marbles that pass the line in a clockwise matter will be affect by the logic line. If the user wants to only affect the marbles going from right to left, the user sets COUNTER-CLOCKWISE. Some users just rotated the line.
    – DennisW
    Mar 13, 2014 at 16:07
  • continuation: This had the same effect, but the option was still set to CLOCKWISE.
    – DennisW
    Mar 13, 2014 at 16:08

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