Lightbox: Cut and Paste / Drag and Drop

Anastasia Cheetham a.cheetham at
Thu Jun 7 13:46:05 UTC 2007

Sorry to weigh in so late in this discussion, but yesterday I was  
distracted by non-Fluid work :-(

On 6-Jun-07, at 1:04 PM, Michael S Elledge wrote:

>> 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),
> I think this is better both because it is both more familiar and  
> easier to implement.

I would argue that it will likely NOT be easier to implement. We  
haven't yet worked out exactly how cut and paste would be implemented  
technically, but the issues raised regarding browser interception of  
the keystrokes, cancelling the action before pasting, undoing,  
switching away from the Gallery tool between the cut and the paste,  
all of these raise red flags in my mind about the complexity of  
implementing cut and paste.

On 6-Jun-07, at 4:04 PM, Daphne Ogle wrote:

> these are new kinds of rich interactions and it's OK be innovative  
> as long as it is very easy to learn and do.   The lightbox  
> component will include the ability to drag and drop which requires  
> learning as a fairly new web interaction.  But...once a user has  
> done it once, they get it.

I agree with this line of thought. Just because it's new and  
different doesn't mean it's bad.

Also, Daphne referenced the lightbox metaphor itself. When I imagine  
a person using a physical lightbox, I envision them sliding pictures  
around to rearrange them. While it is true that computer users are  
accustomed to using cut & paste in editing tasks, we are not really  
dealing with an editing task. This is a re-ordering task. It is  
different than editing, and I don't think it's a bad idea to use  
different keystrokes.  In fact, cut & paste, in editing, imply  
several things that we are not offering. Cut can be used instead of  
delete - do we want to provide that? Paste can be repeated multiple  
times to effect a copy - do we want to provide that? If the answer to  
these questions is yes, then probably cut and paste IS the way to go,  
but then I think "lightbox" is not quite the right name for the  

Perhaps what we should be doing is asking  these questions of some  
users :-)  We have a working prototype of the ctrl-arrow  
implementation. Maybe we should ask a few target users to try it out  
and tell us whether or not they found using ctrl-arrow to be  
difficult, or un-intuitive, and whether or not they would have  
expected cut & paste to be used for this type of task, and what other  
functionality they would expect if cut & paste were the metaphor, etc.

Anastasia Cheetham                  a.cheetham at
Software Designer, Fluid Project
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the fluid-work mailing list