Lightbox: Cut and Paste / Drag and Drop

Shaw-Han Liem shawhan.liem at
Wed Jun 6 16:09:35 UTC 2007

Hi Everyone,

We had a talk yesterday at the ATRC about the keyboard-only  
interaction for the Lightbox component. The idea came up that we  
should perhaps use the 'cut and paste' metaphor for the keyboard  
shortcuts (as this interaction is already familiar to most users), and  
this raised a few questions.

Our understanding is that there are two elements to the 'cut and  
paste' idea: the keyboard interaction (i.e. the standard CTRL-X,  
CTRL-V keyboard shortcuts), and the visual response (cutting and  
pasting text in a word processor is an example of this - the text  
disappears when cut, you move a cursor to a new spot, and then paste  

Currently, our keyboard interaction is based the 'drag and drop'  
metaphor (user holds CTRL to 'pick up' and image, and then the arrow  
keys to 'drag' to a new spot). Similarly, our visual design for  
keyboard-only interactions is very close to the design for mouse-based  
drag and drop (i.e. when and object is 'picked up' it remains on the  
screen as a 'ghost', and the ghost becomes a preview for the new  

So the question was: If we do decide to implement the added  
'cut/paste' keyboard shortcuts, does it make sense to change the  
visual design and behaviour so that it more closely follows the 'cut  
and paste' convention (for example, when you "cut" an image, it would  
disappear and be replaced by a 'cursor' until it is pasted again).

Alernately, does it make sense to use the cut/paste keyboard shortcuts  
while keeping the current visual cues?

Also, assuming we are able to capture events from the 'standard'  
cut/paste keyboard shortcuts (i.e. CTRL-X, CTRL-V), should we also be  
implementing other interactions such as undo (CTRL-Z) and copy  
(CTRL-C). There are also further complications such as what happens  
when the user cuts a thumbnail without placing the previous one, or  
leaves the gallery tool without pasting?

Hopefully I have explained the questions sufficiently... anyone who  
was part of the meeting yesterday please feel free to jump in if I  
haven't made things clear enough!


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