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Motif and CDE 2.1 Style Guide Reference
Direct manipulation is the use of the pointer and a pointing device (such
as the mouse) as a metaphorical extension of a hand (for example, as a
handheld tool) to point to and manipulate elements that represent objects or
to change the state of the application.
When to Use
RecommendedSupport direct manipulation for all objects and for all elements that the
user can act on or that represent an application state that the user can
RequiredSupport direct manipulation of the objects or state represented by the
element directly under the pointer or, if the pointer is within the area of a
selection, the selected elements.
RequiredInitiate a direct manipulation operation when the user presses a pointer
button on an element.
RequiredDo not change the active window while a direct manipulation operation is
RequiredWhile a direct manipulation operation is in progress, if the action to be
performed on termination changes as the pointer is moved or as the state of
the keyboard changes, provide appropriate feedback to the user so that the
user knows what action will be performed.
RequiredIf a direct manipulation operation requires that buttons be pressed while
the operation is in progress, terminate the direct manipulation operation.
Alternatively, change its mode when the user releases all pointer buttons and
does not press any more buttons or keys within a time period specified by the
RequiredIf a direct manipulation operation does not require that any button be
pressed while the operation is in progress, allow the user to terminate the
direct manipulation operation. Alternatively, change its mode by pressing
shortcut keys or by clicking on some combination of pointer buttons.
When the user presses Cancel or Esc while a direct manipulation operation
is in progress, cancel the direct manipulation operation.
RecommendedDo not perform any action associated with the operation if the user
performs a direct manipulation operation by pressing one or more pointer
buttons, moves the pointer but returns it to its starting location, and then
releases the buttons, and if there was no change in mode during the motion.
RecommendedDisplay a Help window when the user presses Help while a direct
manipulation operation is in progress. The Help window should provide help
specific to the operation, the application state, and the pointer position.
Include information describing what would happen if various inputs were
received at that point and how and why the operation could succeed or fail.
RecommendedIf you provide a Help window when the user requests Help during a direct
manipulation operation, make it an application modal window and do not accept
any input until all pointer buttons or keys that are still pressed are
RecommendedSupport the following choices in a Help window displayed during a direct
Cancel, to terminate the direct manipulation operation.
Choices that provide more help.
Choices to complete the direct manipulation operation in various ways. For
instance, if help is requested while scrolling, the help dialog could provide
choices to scroll to the beginning of the viewed object, the end of the viewed
object, or to the position just before or after the initially displayed view.
Resume, to resume the direct manipulation operation, but only if the
direct manipulation operation does not require that any pointer button be
pressed while the operation is in progress.
OptionalDisplay help information, but not in a secondary window, when the user
presses Help and continues to press any other pointer buttons or keys that
were pressed. Remove the help information when the user releases the Help key.
Essential Related Topics
For more information, see the Cancel (Choice), Copy To (Dialog),
Drag-and-Drop Transfer, Emphasis (Cue), Help (Menu/Action Choice), Move To
(Dialog Choice), Pointer, and Window Menu reference pages.
Supplemental Related Topics
For more information, see the Data Transfer, Keyboard (Device), and
Mouse (Device) reference pages.
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