Lightbox: Cut and Paste / Drag and Drop

Michael S Elledge elledge at
Thu Jun 7 15:05:37 UTC 2007

Maybe the metaphor is to allow sliding items (for someone using adaptive 
tech this would probably be reordering, as in a list) when in the light 
box, but cut and paste if you are moving the item to a different tool.


Anastasia Cheetham wrote:
> 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 component.
> 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 
> <mailto:a.cheetham at>
> Software Designer, Fluid Project
> Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto
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