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117

Repurposing familiar controls to do other things is generally a bad idea as it simply means that they don't behave as the user expects them to. If you are augmenting a control set then it's best to avoid existing controls and add new ones. That way, the controls that users are familiar with will behave as expected.


82

The Microsoft's Guidelines for Keyboard User Interface Design says: Use the following guidelines for designing shortcut keys: Assign simple and consistent key combinations. Make shortcut keys customizable. Use a shortcut with the CTRL key for actions that represent a large-scale effect, such as CTRL+S for save current document. Use the ...


57

Taking over existing keyboard shortcuts (in the scope of the application the user is working in) is a horrible idea. You don't explicitly state it, but I think your application is browser based. Since, in the context of the browser, F5 is an existing keyboard shortcut (a common one, at that), it is a bad idea. From personal experience - I had Norton AV ...


54

Because there is no feedback of the clipboard state. Pressing CTRL+C multiple times gives the guaranteed impression the right data is in the clipboard, just before the next action (CTRL+V, possible). CTRL+X does have visual feedback, as the data either disappears or changes view (in case of file). You are not the only one who does it.


51

What We Know So Far: The first browser did not use Backspace to go back a page: Several Mosaic menu or button functions have keyboard equivalents. Among them: b, equivalent to the Back button Source: http://www.uoxray.uoregon.edu/local/manuals/biosym/discovery/Html_Help/navigating.html First Netscape Navigator (evolved from Mosaic) Did Not Use ...


50

I don't know how it started but I can add my two cents about what ALL my clients say: $%!$% what the @$#%#% just happened? Why did the page change? Now I have to fill in that form all over again. I would love to see this go away for good, and the first thing I do when building a form laden website is the following jQuery script: var hasfocus = 'false'; //...


30

The UI guidelines are a great start - but are also just that - guidelines. You need to do your research as well. Standards: Research what are accepted standards. e.g. Ctrl+S for Save. Familiarity: Research what is being done in similar, competitor, or otherwise comparable applications that your target audience is using. Multitasking: Research what is being ...


28

I'll put in an answer myself here... (Hopefully this will inspire to submit more research links...) Searching the ACM digital library and a few other resources I found a few related articles. Categorization costs for hierarchical keyboard commands (2011) by Miller, Denkov and Omanson Summary Previous research comparing methods of issuing commands ...


22

I can think of a few reasons. It's a simpler mental model. You copy something and you paste it. You don't paste the result of some transformation of the object you copied, you get the exact same object you picked up. Simpler actions are better in that they are more predictable and less confusing. It's called "paste", it's not called "remove formatting and ...


22

Always follow the principle of least astonishment. The use of F5 in this situation would be considered astonishing. There are cases when keys should be overridden in order to provide the least surprising behaviour. A common case is applications that are traditionally desktop based but are now running in a browser window that acts as a thin shell. In this ...


21

The answer is more trivial than you probably think - it's because h, j, k, l were respectively left, down, up, right arrows on the ADM-3A terminal which Bill Joy used when creating the original Vi [1]. [1] http://www.catonmat.net/blog/why-vim-uses-hjkl-as-arrow-keys/


21

Keyboard The Shift modifier is used for keyboard selection as well, and not just for single selection. No matter where you are, no matter how long the list, [Shift] + [END] selects everything from your current item focus to the end of the list, [Shift] + [PgDwn] one page (however that is defined). This also combines with the word jump of Ctrl where ...


21

This is not a new pattern. The reason is simply that there's no feedback. You can't see whether the copy succeeded. That's why people tend to press it a couple of times, just to be sure. See the second answer to this question: Why do people clear the screen multiple times when using a calculator? Calculators obviously have a state, since they do multi-...


20

In general, yes, keyboard shortcuts have been shown to be effective. Some research suggests (1) that having keyboard shortcuts in a web app improves revisitation. In general, keyboard shortcuts enable power user activity. Keyboard shortcuts also improve accessibility. (2) You also have the evidence of what the major players in the field are doing (i.e., ...


17

I don't see the need for any new studies in this area. The issue is that people usually take the results out of context. You can't comparing using a mouse to learning a keyboard command and then using it. Apples and oranges. Let me summarise what we know. If you don't know the keyboard command, it is usually faster to use the mouse as it has a lower ...


15

Not a complete answer, but some thoughts about why drag-and-select is not so good. Dragging with a pressed mouse button is physically hard to do. You have to keep a constant pressure on the mouse button, and if it becomes too light, your work is undone. Too much pressure and the mouse can't glide well, and the cheap ones feel like they will fall apart in ...


14

The Insert key is a perfectly reasonable choice. I’d like to see that become the standard. Might as well start with you. If you are currently using Insert to toggle into overtype mode, don’t. Overtype mode does more harm than good, and that kind of use of the insert key is inconsistent with how other keys are used. MS Word abandoned overtype mode years ago. ...


12

How did this come about? In 2005 this was implemented on Mozilla Firefox for the following reasons: The backspace key was mapped to the browser ‘Back’ function in Mozilla for consistency with Internet Explorer. However, to improve consistency with other applications running on Linux, it was decided that this mapping should be optional—and set based on ...


11

Mac does support Copy as well as Cut as explained above. The only difference is how they are perceived. On Windows and other environments, users need to decide before taking an action whether they want to copy content or move content. Paste is a simple activity that depends on the previous action taken. It has a usability flaw which is evident in an example ...


11

What Apple decided to do with the "Cut and Paste" procedure in Windows is simply to combine them into one action, Move. Or: drag = move option+drag=copy With OSX the user applies direct manipulation by dragging a file or a group of files between folders, rather than selecting and cutting them out into some virtual un-graspable medium. Whether it ...


11

Delete sould not delete the row. Delete should delete the content of the cell. CTRL+Delete should delete the row. CTRL+Insert should insert a new row.


11

The only time I have ever done this, was with an internal systems diagnostic web page that allowed admin users to enter raw a raw SQL query to run against a database. The users were accustomed to using SQL Server Management Studio, which executed the query using the F5 shortcut. Users complained that pressing F5 would refresh the page, making them lose ...


9

For the menus, the standard is to display the shortcut at the right of the command (and probably at the left for RTL locales). Example: Photoshop. For the buttons and similar elements, shortcut keys are not displayed for a good reason: there is no enough visual space for it. Don't forget that shortcuts should be configurable (especially if the default ones ...


9

Yes, this will improve efficiency. For desktop users, it will mean that users who are not yet in position to use the keyboard will be able to proceed without delay (which reduces your GOMS or KLM score). For touch users, it means that the user does not have to rely on the often rather fiddly native text paste controls. That being said, I am unsure about ...


9

Mnemonics don't translate well and retaining their mnemonic nature. However, that isn't a critical issue. For example, the common ctrl(or command) + X, C, V, A, W, Q are the standard shortcut in many languages even when they have no associated mnemonic. Even in English many common shortcuts have no mnemonic link. Consistency is significantly more ...


9

There is another reason, apart from the lack of visual feedback - on Windows, at least, the clipboard doesn't always work. It's a known problem and sometimes transient: On a safe mode, fresh profile, firefox does this to me with, I would estimate, about 2-5% frequency (I only remember this happening from the address bar) -- this has been happening from FF ...


9

It's not used because of unintended consequences. If I'm typing something and want to write THE END, remembering to let go of Shift in the middle or after each word becomes a huge burden. Even understanding why the computer didn't type the letters I wanted is confusing. In the case of Chrome the space bar isn't being used for the " " character, but as a ...


8

Key Stroke Modeling(KLM) that is part of GOMS method has some answers regarding this. According to an article by Jeff Sauro: Card, Moran and Newell brought in hundreds of users and had them complete tasks repeatedly. They decomposed large tasks like typing a letter or using a spreadsheet into millisecond level actions (called operators). They found just a ...


8

I'd like to first of all debunk the theories of lazy programmers and global shortcuts. Lazy programmers (but not the lazy smart programmers) would not single out keyboard shortcuts as a particular requirement they're too lazy to do. There's nothing hard about setting it up. Most programming languages and frameworks provide functions and convenience ...


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