[Design] focus in the sidebar
mimi at osafoundation.org
Fri Jan 6 09:39:49 PST 2006
I'm moving another bugzilla discussion to the list.
We're trying to work through whether or not to make an exception in
the sidebar for mouse and keyboard focus behavior. Generally speaking
keyboard focus moves in tandem with mouse focus. Traditionally, if
you use your mouse to select an item in a window, keyboard focus
moves to that window and you can do things like delete and/or use the
arrow keys to navigate up and down.
The question we're grappling with today is: Is this model appropriate
for UIs with sidebar navigation where users are not necessarily
trying to "shift focus to the sidebar" when they click in the
sidebar, but instead they are simply trying to "change the focus in
their summary pane" and clicking in the sidebar is merely the lever
they have to adjust to accomplish that.
On the one hand, you can argue that most of the time, most of the
people remain "focused" on the summary pane, even when clicking in
the sidebar. On the other hand, an exception to a well-worn rule can
Email clients like Thunderbird follow the "shift focus in tandem"
model, while Apple Mail makes it a little harder to shift focus to
the sidebar and most users probably never figure out how.
Has anyone used both clients and noticed the difference? If you have
any personal anecdotes, please share.
------- Additional Comment #9 From Mimi Yin 2006-01-04 18:59 PST
Changing name of bug so I can understand what it means ;o)
So I think this has broader design implications than just sticking in
view, which should be easy enough (design-wise)...it brings up the
in the sidebar issue.
Basically I feel that if we're going to have a detail view for
we need to prevent the focus from automatically shifting to the
sidebar when you
click in the sidebar. Otherwise, there will be no correlation between
has focus (sidebar versus summary) and what's displayed in the detail
(collection dv or item dv).
We can have a special action for shifting focus to the sidebar and
the collection dv (ie. clicking on either the sharing status icon or an
"information" icon if the collection isn't shared) And we can also
from the menus/context menus.
------- Additional Comment #10 From Philippe Bossut 2006-01-04 21:51
PST [reply] -------
I don't understand Mimi's point:
"Basically I feel that if we're going to have a detail view for
collections, then we need to prevent the
focus from automatically shifting to the sidebar when you click in
Why? If the focus is on the sidebar when clicking on it, displaying a
detail view for the selected
collection just makes sense...
"Otherwise, there will be no correlation between which pane has focus
(sidebar versus summary) and
what's displayed in the detail view (collection dv or item dv)."
? There will be a correlation: the selected item (collection or item)
in the focused view (sidebar or
summary) is displayed in the dv...
Without going far, iCal has a simple unambiguous way of doing this.
Why not mimic it?
I agree that displaying collection info in the dv requires the focus
area issue to be dealt with but I don't
understand your point at all. What is wrong in having the focus moved
to the sidebar?
Note: may be this discussion should move to the Design list (under
the "no discussion in Bugzilla" rule
from Fogel's poss...)
------- Additional Comment #11 From Mimi Yin 2006-01-05 04:10 PST
I think you can get away with such a proposal in a caledaring app.
think users expect to have the detail view of the selected item
switching between collections in the sidebar. (ie. when copying and
between two emails, etc) The detail view of the collection is
generally not a
very useful thing to look at?
Also, not having the focus automatically move to the sidebar makes
sense from a
workflow perspective as well. Users are much more likely to want to
arrow keys to browse individual items than to use the arrow keys to
It's more a question of leveling features wrt usage. I'm not saying
have any mechanism for shifting the focus (ie. using the tab key), I
it should be a little harder to get at because browsing the sidebar
arrow keys and looking at the collection dv are going to be far less
I'll move this to the design list after csg.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Design