About Double Clicking

23 Aug 2006 - 12:21pm
8 years ago
6 replies
475 reads
Cindy Lu
2006

I sent this to CHI-WEB. I hope to get some responses soon so I am
posting this message here also. Thanks for your help!

==
I would like to find out whether you have used the Double Click
interaction method in web application designs and whether you have any
results from testing it with users.

Example:
Windows Live Mail (hotmail) - Single clicking an email to view the
detail in the preview pane and double clicking it to view the detail
in full window.

Furthermore, what if single clicking and double clicking lead
different results?
- Single clicking -> displaying the children of the object
- Double clicking -> displaying the object detail

Thanks!

- Cindy

Comments

23 Aug 2006 - 1:17pm
Jough
2006

> I would like to find out whether you have used the Double Click
> interaction method in web application designs and whether you have any
> results from testing it with users.

I had created an image gallery on my personal blog with windows-like folders
which contained the images. It worked and looked very similar to windows
explorer, yet was powered by AJAX.

During the initial creation I had set it up as single click to open a
'folder' and the same to display the image within the folder. User response
was disappointing. My users were confused by its use and it took time for
them to get used to it.

Due to this (and the fact that it appeared like Windows explorer), I decided
to alter it to a double click folder opening. My users were then amazed at
the ease of use.

In my circumstance it appears as though the user was not convinced this was
a web application, but actually a Windows application. Therefore, I believe
it is probably the way you portray the page itself that will determine
whether your users will prefer double-click or single-click. Sorry I do not
have any actual data in this matter.

-Big Joe

23 Aug 2006 - 1:30pm
Cindy Lu
2006

We did a paper-based testing and the user seemed to understand double
clicking will show details. We don't have an interactive prototype so
I can't say it works or not.

By the way, Google Notebook uses single clicking for selecting the
note (by highlighting) and double clicking for activating the Edit
feature.

It looks single clicking for selecting and double clicking for
activating model works (based on my limited observations).

I am curious when single clicking and double clicking do not achieve
the results in the same direction (e.g. showing children -> showing
details vs. select -> activate), whether it is usable and/or
trainable.

- Cindy

> In my circumstance it appears as though the user was not convinced this was
> a web application, but actually a Windows application. Therefore, I believe
> it is probably the way you portray the page itself that will determine
> whether your users will prefer double-click or single-click. Sorry I do not
> have any actual data in this matter.
>
> -Big Joe
>

23 Aug 2006 - 2:43pm
Jed Wood
2005

Quoting Cindy Lu <cindylu01 at gmail.com>:

> It looks single clicking for selecting and double clicking for
> activating model works (based on my limited observations).

For almost 4 years we used double-click in a web application. Users could click
a folder to select it, which would show its contents, or double-click it to
rename the folder. We never found problems nor received complaints about the
interaction in general, possibly because the folders had a default label of
"Double-click to name."

We did, however, get occasional complaints from people simply not being able to
double-click. We weren't able to tap into the built-in standard OS double-click
event, and our best attempts at making a solid, bomb-proof never-fail
double-click detector still seemed to fail some fraction of a percentage of the
time.

A few months ago we moved to a slightly different approach. If the folder is not
selected, clicking on it selects it and displays its contents. If the folder is
selected, clicking on it makes the name editable. In essence, we've set up a
"double-click" with unlimited time in between clicks, if that makes sense. So
far this seems to be working well.

Regards,
-Jed

24 Aug 2006 - 3:35pm
jbellis
2005

Jed,
Your comments highlight a couple of great points.

First, that a simple embedded instruction makes personas and endless rounds
of punditry and immaterial. (Must we be cognizant of the accessibility cost
of double-clicking? Absolutely. But providing alternate invocations is a
matter concerning more than just double-clicking.)

Second, it says something about the hopeless battle that "Simplicity" wages
against "Power." (Double-clicking is not simple... it is a hidden technique
that complicates use.) Users don't "want" and never have "wanted"
simplicity. Rather, they "expect" things to be as simple as conceivably
possible. What they (we) always have wanted and will want more and more
rapidly as the totally-connected generation matures, is power.

All of the things that are powerful in desktops apps will eventually be the
norm in the browser.

-Jack

----- Original Message -----
From: <jed at id.iit.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 3:43 PM

We never found problems nor received complaints about the
interaction in general, possibly because the folders had a default label of
"Double-click to name."

We did, however, get occasional complaints from people simply not being able
to
double-click.

25 Aug 2006 - 1:23pm
Diego Moya
2005

For some time now I cherish the hope that web applications will mean
the end of the worse interface idioms from desktop environments. The
worst offenders are windows, double-click, and the overloading of
mouse buttons both for selection and activation. These are source of
many errors and an nuisances to users.

When a system becomes slow responsive, having click and double-click
perform different actions is a pain. Often I click to select an
folder, and since the system is slow I lack visual feedback and click
it again - just to notice that folder renaming has been activated.
I've been caught many times by this one.

The technique described by Jad - activating by clicking a selected
object "with unlimited time in between clicks" - is much better in
usability, and has equal power. I really hope that the visual legacy
of desktop idioms is deprecated and new, simpler languages develop
from the current trend in web applications and touch screens.

On 24/08/06, jackbellis.com <jackbellis en hotmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
> Second, it says something about the hopeless battle that "Simplicity" wages
> against "Power." (Double-clicking is not simple... it is a hidden technique
> that complicates use.) Users don't "want" and never have "wanted"
> simplicity. Rather, they "expect" things to be as simple as conceivably
> possible. What they (we) always have wanted and will want more and more
> rapidly as the totally-connected generation matures, is power.
>
> All of the things that are powerful in desktops apps will eventually be the
> norm in the browser.

25 Aug 2006 - 2:59pm
Juan Lanus
2005

Since 1998 I'm building desktop Windows applications that work as Jed
said, with a twist.
One click selects, chooses, for example a row in a grid, or a list
item. Then there is always a button (that enables upon selection)
labeles for example: "edit" with a tooltip like "edit the selected
<element>".
Or, users who want can double click and go directly to selection.

This was done for to make an application acesible to old people (70+)
with no previous PC experience, and it worked very well, leading to
almost zero training UIs.

Also, element can be selected with the arrow keys and "clicked" by
hitting enter, but few people use this idioms.

In short, leave the double click there but provide a natural
alternative that users can take without even noticing it.
Also, double-clicking a mouse requires a great deal of muscular coordination.
--
Juan Lanus
TECNOSOL
Argentina

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