Next iteration of List Reorderer in Announcements posted...

Daphne Ogle daphne at
Mon Oct 27 20:29:01 UTC 2008

Clay et al,

There are a few main reasons for forcing the user to go into reorder  
mode in this context rather than just have the reordering in place as  
you say.  For the most part this is context specific to announcements.

1)  From what I've been able to find out, this isn't functionality  
that falls into the 80% use rule.  It seems to be a work around that  
some instructors have requested at Michigan.  So, rather than have it  
clutter the main page, we've moved it to its own mode.  Even for those  
that use the functionality, reordering is not a frequently completed  
task so adding a click to get to it is better than having the  
functionality there competing with readability (the #1 activity in  
this tool) all the time.  This is also the reason I've recommended  
reordering is only available in this tool once it's been turned on in  
options.  It would be off by default.  The netflix context (which I  
also use as a benchmark) is different in that a common activity is  
rearranging your list of movies.

2)  An interaction that is included in list reordering but not in the  
previous reorderers (layout reorderer and image reorderer) is the  
ability to reorderer with numbers.   There's user testing data that  
drag and drop is easiest and preferred when a list is fairly short.   
Once the list gets long, particularly when it requires lots of  
scrolling, the easiest and preferred interaction is using the  
numbers.  By itself this isn't a reason to have a reorder mode but the  
added column coupled with infrequent use of reordering is.

3)  Another input is thinking about the other interactions on the  
page.  The title of the announcement is clickable for instance, so as  
a user, making sure you "grab" the item rather than open it (by  
clicking the title) can be a bit tricky.   That said, I kept the title  
clickable in the reorder mode anyway so users could see the details of  
the announcement while reordering (it's a tradeoff but seemed more  
important to be able the see the announcement content in the reorder  
context).   The bigger challenge is that the whole row is what is  
being moved but it really isn't an "object" in the main interface.  So  
as a keyboard user moves the main page in announcements they would  
first focus on the announcement title, then the authors name, then the  
access and so on.  In the reorder mode the entire row becomes an  
object so the keyboard movement would be from the 1st row to the 2nd  
to the 3rd and so on.   This is another difference between the list in  
a table and our previous types of reordering where there are objects  
users move through (thumbnails and portlets).  This challenge by  
itself really isn't reason enough to force a reorder mode (we could  
just define the keyboard interaction to select the entire row before  
selecting individual items in the row).

I believe the next place we'll be integrating reordering is in  
resources where reordering is a much more common activity.  I'd like  
to avoid another mode for it.


On Oct 26, 2008, at 7:58 AM, Colin Clark wrote:

> Clay,
> On 26-Oct-08, at 9:53 AM, Clay Fenlason wrote:
>> Is there an accessibility reason, perhaps, for why reordering in  
>> place
>> is the wrong way to go?
> I'll let Daphne or others respond to the overall interaction question,
> but I don't see any specific accessibility reasons for avoiding
> "reorder in place." Indeed, in other implementations of the Reorderer,
> such as uPortal 3.1's use of the layout reorderer, we don't use a
> separate mode at all. Reorderering is just there when you need it.
> Colin
> ---
> Colin Clark
> Technical Lead, Fluid Project
> Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto
> _______________________________________________
> fluid-work mailing list
> fluid-work at

Daphne Ogle
Senior Interaction Designer
University of California, Berkeley
Educational Technology Services
daphne at
cell (510)847-0308

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