Reorderer behaviour

Paul Zablosky Paul.Zablosky at
Wed Sep 17 16:37:39 UTC 2008

Now that issue Fluid-1335 
(Drop target based on position of pointer instead of avatar) has been 
resolved (thanks Antranig), I have worked through all the reorderer 
examples that previously were giving me problems.  They all now feel 
much smoother now and the targets appear much more where I expect 
them.   It will be interesting to see what the user tests reveal -- 
although we won't really have a proper comparison between the old and 
new behaviours.


Daphne Ogle wrote:
> Hi Paul,
> Your experience is similar to what we found in user 
> testing. 
> We think the performance was a large issue in the user not being able 
> to tell where the portlet was going to be dropped.  And it was a 
> difficult to seperate out intended interaction from the lag and 
> jerkiness happening (more in Firefox 2 than 3).  The development team 
> is working hard to make these interactions smoother.  We'll run 
> another set of user tests once they feel we are ready and we should be 
> able to get some good data.
> Thanks for the comments and bringing this up!  
> -Daphne
>> I have been playing with the reorderer examples on the daily build 
>> page <> and getting a feel for the 
>> behaviour of the avatars and the targets.  The behaviour is not quite 
>> what I expect as I move things around, and I'm wondering whether I'm 
>> taking an idiosyncratic view of things.  The problem is that the drop 
>> target doesn't seem to appear where I expect it to.  I position the 
>> avatar squarely over where I want to move the element, and yet the 
>> target is one position off to the left  or right (or above or 
>> below).   I have to move the avatar farther than (I feel) should be 
>> necessary to get the target to appear where I want it. It makes the 
>> whole interaction sort of weirdly sticky for me.  What it comes down 
>> to is that I feel I should be able to predict where the target a irst 
>> I thought that this was just a performance issue, but now I know what 
>> causes it.
>> Here's the explanation.  What I'm trying to do is position the avatar 
>> where I want to drop the element, but the target isn't following the 
>> avatar.  The target follows the /pointer/.  So with a fairly large 
>> avatar -- such as a portlet window, or  a multi-line list element, it 
>> makes a huge difference where I grab the element.  If I grab the top 
>> edge of the list element, the target will appear in relation to the 
>> top edge of the avatar.  If I grab the bottom edge, the target 
>> follows the position of the bottom. 
>> But I never pay attention to where I grab the thing.  My eyes are 
>> tracking the outline of the avatar, and I sort of expect the target 
>> to appear where I have the avatar centred -- and that's not happening.
>> So it raises the question in my mind.  Is it just me, or do others 
>> have the same experience of the movements of the following their 
>> expectations?
>> Of course my experience means nothing.  I know that we can only 
>> settle an issue like this with user testing.  So here's the real 
>> question: Do users have the idea that they are influencing the 
>> position of the drop target by the location of the avatar, or do they 
>> have the feeling they are shoving it around with the pointer, while 
>> ignoring the outlines of the avatar?  And do we have any user testing 
>> results or research data (possibly from some outside source) that can 
>> tell us this?
>> I spent a little time this afternoon trying to train myself to be a 
>> better drag-and-dropper, using the four reorderer examples 
>> <> -- either centring the pointer 
>> carefully on the element I'm grabbing, or following the pointer image 
>> rather than the avatar outline.  I'm learning, but it doesn't feel 
>> quite natural.
>> Comments?  Am I marching to a completely off-the-beat drummer here?
> Daphne Ogle
> Senior Interaction Designer
> University of California, Berkeley
> Educational Technology Services
> daphne at <mailto:daphne at>
> cell (510)847-0308

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