When selecting items in a list, we can click to select the first item, then use Shift+Click to select another item, then all consecutive items are selected.

If we want to select more, we can select them individually using Ctrl+Click, but not select any more ranges.

This seems odd to me in that the Shift+Click functionality was added specifically to avoid having to individually click many items. But, after Shift+Click is used once, its benefits are lost and we have to revert to tediously clicking individual items once again.

Why can't Shift+Click be used multiple times to select multiple consecutive ranges? Could we not just:

  1. Press Shift+Click again, select the start of the next range.
  2. With Shift+Click held down, select the end of the next range.

This could be repeated ad infinitum, and we would still not lose the ability to pick out individual items using Ctrl.

Am I missing something?

  • 2
    In what context, on what platform? Multiple ranges are possible on both OSX and Windows file managers. There is also no reason other than "that's how they implemented it" for a particular instance. – Evil Closet Monkey Apr 22 '15 at 15:54
  • You'd need to press [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+click to select a second range as the [CTRL] key needs to be held to append to the selection vs. wipe it out and start over. (at lease that's how it works on Windows)... but most users would never realize that this special extended feature works... many have no clue about the CTRL or Shift options. – scunliffe Apr 22 '15 at 16:38
  • You'd lose the ability to let go of the shift key in between. On the other hand, if you just keep using shift+click, the user has to remember whether he's done an even or odd number of shift-clicks (i.e. is selecting the beginning or end of a range). – Ulrich Schwarz Apr 22 '15 at 19:25
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's totally in how a developer implemented whatever dropdown / combobox / select you are referring to. I could write one that does exactly what you want. So, no need for this question. Maybe the UX question should be, "What are the UX benefits or ramifications if the HTML spec implemented this type functionality by default?" – Code Maverick Apr 22 '15 at 21:10

The UX answer for this would be that a user action should be mapped to only one function; otherwise things can get confusing, the function can be ambiguous, and the result of the action can be unpredictable.

If I take your proposal, how would you explain such behaviour in a manual? You'll have ifs and thens and you introduce logical complexity.

Notwithstanding, I share your annoyance - I just think that when it comes to multiple range selection interfaces should provide a convenient way for doing this that does not rely on complex key/mouse combinations. One way to achieve this is with selection tick boxes that respond to drag over; another is using selection buckets (so once you made a single or range selection, items are removed from the list and move to the selected list).

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