Auto-tabbing in web apps

13 Oct 2004 - 3:26am
9 years ago
4 replies
764 reads
Narey, Kevin
2004

Hi,

I came across an interesting conflict recently where two users fed back
completely contradicting views on auto tabbing in one of our web
developments.

One found it very usable - and the other was ripping there hair out with
rage.

I personally find it useful (i.e. on online banking applications for sort
codes) because I usually have an equal usage in apps of both mouse and
keyboard and therefore tend to keep track of the focus. However, the users
who dislike this and find it counter-intuitive predominantly use the
keyboard and therefore through standard tabbing usage (i.e. not keeping an
eye on the focus) got completely thrown.

As a result of this we've taken the decision not to use it as it goes
against standard usage.

Anyone else found this and decided not to employ it as a usable interface
option? Perhaps this could be filed under 'It depends on the target user'?

Rgds

Kevin

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Comments

13 Oct 2004 - 3:36am
Listera
2004

Narey, Kevin:

> Anyone else found this and decided not to employ it as a usable interface
> option?

Isn't this why God created the Checkbox? :-)
You could give your users a choice, it's only a few lines of JS code.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

13 Oct 2004 - 8:58am
Lyle_Kantrovich...
2004

If the users are most likely one-time or infrequent, then I would lean
toward avoiding it if you don't have strong evidence that a large
majority like it.

If, on the other hand, this is an app where the users use it a lot and
would learn how it works (e.g. a heavy data-entry position like a help
desk), then you might rely on training and learning.

Checkboxes = making the user deal with featuritis...generally bad.

Regards,

Lyle

----
Lyle Kantrovich
User Experience Architect
Cargill
http://www.cargill.com/
Voice: 952-984-5330

Croc O' Lyle - Personal Commentary on usability, information
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-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin.Narey at Gedas.co.uk [mailto:Kevin.Narey at Gedas.co.uk]
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2004 3:27 AM
To: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [ID Discuss] Auto-tabbing in web apps

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]

Hi,

I came across an interesting conflict recently where two users fed back
completely contradicting views on auto tabbing in one of our web
developments.

One found it very usable - and the other was ripping there hair out with
rage.

I personally find it useful (i.e. on online banking applications for
sort
codes) because I usually have an equal usage in apps of both mouse and
keyboard and therefore tend to keep track of the focus. However, the
users
who dislike this and find it counter-intuitive predominantly use the
keyboard and therefore through standard tabbing usage (i.e. not keeping
an
eye on the focus) got completely thrown.

As a result of this we've taken the decision not to use it as it goes
against standard usage.

Anyone else found this and decided not to employ it as a usable
interface
option? Perhaps this could be filed under 'It depends on the target
user'?

Rgds

Kevin

**********************************************************************
gedas united kingdom limited
Registered in England no. 1371338

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
and it may be privileged.

It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to
whom it is addressed.

If you have received this in error, please contact the sender
and delete the material immediately.
**********************************************************************

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13 Oct 2004 - 9:26am
Coryndon Luxmoore
2004

>If, on the other hand, this is an app where the users use it a lot and
>would learn how it works

We have seen this feature alot in the call center work that we have done. Typically this occurs with closely related fields that users actually think of as one.

One way we have avoided frequent use of autotabbing is by improving the validation of the data entered. So phone number can now be entered in many different formats and still be accepted by the system. This places more of a burdemn on you tech team than three seperate number fields that force the user to enter text.

My rule of thumb has been that it is OK to use it where tabbing incurs a greater burden than the inconsistant behavior. So I try to limit it to mentally related data like SSN, phone numbers, etc that are fixed in length.

That said we do get pressure from expert users to put autotabbing any place that they exceed the length of the field. They seem to rather have the workload of manually returning to a previous field if they have made a mistake vs having to hit the tab button all of the time.

--Coryndon

13 Oct 2004 - 4:29pm
bill pawlak
2004

> From: "Narey, Kevin" <Kevin.Narey at Gedas.co.uk>
> Anyone else found this and decided not to employ
> it as a usable interface option? Perhaps this
> could be filed under 'It depends on the target
> user'?
>
> Rgds
> Kevin

Kevin,

I recently ran into a similar situation with an application (closed
system, expert and novice users). The expert users loved it, the
novices hated it. Until, that is, I tried out HTMLDog's suckerfish
input:hover technique. You can use it to change the border color and
background color of input fields, textareas, etc... makes it *much*
more obvious which field is currently highlighted. Now both sets of
users are happy.

(http://www.htmldog.com/articles/suckerfish/hover/).

By the way, I'm new to the list... would like to say hello to everyone
and thanks for the interesting topics already

Bill

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