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Motif and CDE 2.1 Style Guide

Using Transfer Techniques

Depending on the number of intervening steps the user must take to complete a transfer operation, transfer techniques span two categories: direct manipulation and indirect manipulation.

Direct manipulation
Allows the user to perform actions on elements by interacting directly with the elements. Dragging an element with a mouse and dropping it onto another element is one form of direct manipulation.

Direct manipulation is similar to interacting with things in the real world; when users need to throw something away, they simply pick it up and put it in a trash can. Similarly, users can drag a file and drop it on a trash can icon in the interface. Direct manipulation is usually more efficient than performing the equivalent actions through navigating menu items.

Indirect manipulation
Allows the user to interact with an element through controls (push buttons, dialog boxes, and so forth) and menus.

By using a keyboard exclusively, a user can obtain results equivalent to those available through direct manipulation.

Direct and indirect manipulation represent two ends of a range. In reality, manipulation techniques often fall somewhere between direct and indirect manipulation. For example, using a pop-up menu is more direct than using other kinds of menus, but it is less direct than dragging an element.

Transfer techniques fall into the following range, from direct to indirect manipulation:

  1. Drag and drop

  2. Primary transfer

  3. Quick transfer

  4. Clipboard transfer

  5. Drag and Drop

    Drag and drop provides a quick and simple method of transferring data. The technique is called drag and drop because it involves moving an element from one place (dragging) and leaving it at another (dropping). The user can drag and drop single or multiple elements.

    The result of a drag and drop depends on the relationship between the source element and the target element.

    Source element
    A source element is usually an item that contains information to be transferred.

    Target element
    A target element is usually an item that the user is transferring information to.

    Within a collection (set of elements), the user can either drag a selected subset of elements, a single unselected element, or the entire collection depending on the following:

    1. In text-like collections, initiating a drag in a selected region drags the text selection (including all pieces if it is discontiguous).

    2. In list-like and graphics-like collections, initiating a drag on a selected element drags the entire selection.

    3. In list-like and graphics-like collections, initiating a drag on an unselected element drags just that element. If the collection contains a selection, the selection must not be affected (except if the drop occurs in the same collection).

    4. In list-like and graphics-like collections, initiating a drag in the background of a contiguous selected region drags the selection.

      Figure 38 illustrates dragging a file into a trash can.

      Figure 38. Drag and Drop.

      View figure.

      For more information, see the Data Transfer, Direct Manipulation, and Drag and Drop Transfer reference pages.

    5. Primary Transfer

      Primary transfer allows the user to transfer a primary selection from a source directly to a destination without dragging it and without using a storage mechanism, such as a clipboard. There are three primary transfer operations: primary copy, primary link, and primary move.

      For example, a user can select a paragraph in help text, move the mouse pointer to the target area in another window, and transfer the paragraph by pressing the TRANSFER button.

      Figure 39 illustrates a primary transfer.

      Figure 39. Primary Transfer.

      View figure.

      For more information, see the Primary Transfer reference page.

      Quick Transfer

      Quick transfer allows the user to make a temporary selection that does not affect the current selection within the scope of selection. The user can then immediately copy, move, or link that selection to the insertion point in the control in which the user is interacting. There are three quick transfer operations: quick copy, quick cut (or quick move), and quick link.

      Figure 40 illustrates a quick transfer.

      Figure 40. Quick Transfer.

      View figure.

      For more information, see the Quick Transfer reference page.

      Clipboard Transfer

      The clipboard is an area of storage provided by the operating system to hold data temporarily. A user can cut, copy, and paste elements to and from the clipboard. For example, the clipboard can hold a single line of text or an entire document, a single data record or an entire database, a single line segment or an entire graphic.

      The user can perform the clipboard transfer operations cut, copy, and paste from the Edit menu. Standard keyboard bindings must also be available in every editable data collection.

      Except when necessary to prevent the corruption of data, you should not restrict the user from placing any elements or parts of elements onto the clipboard.

      Figure 41 illustrates a clipboard transfer.

      Figure 41. Clipboard Transfer.

      View figure.

      For more information, see Appendix B. "Keyboard Model and Key Bindings" and the Clipboard and Cut, Copy, Paste reference pages.

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