Drag-select convention

19 Feb 2004 - 2:53pm
10 years ago
5 replies
497 reads
sandeepblues
2003

Anyone know what the convention or solution is for
allowing a user to select a bunch of objects in a
drawing application via box-select, where the start of
the drag is on an object that is not to be selected.

Background:

I have a map-based drawing application where many
thousands of zones are drawn by the user.

When manipulating these zones, using standard mouse
gestures, it is particularly difficult to deal with
performing a box-select operation, because there is no
background to click on...it is covered with zones.

The common result is that when the user does
box-select a set of zones, a large zone under all the
target zones gets moved, instead. Very annoying.

Is there a mouse gesture convention for this?

Alt+drag?

Thanks.

Sandeep

Comments

19 Feb 2004 - 3:05pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Feb 19, 2004, at 12:53 PM, Sandeep Jain wrote:

> Anyone know what the convention or solution is for
> allowing a user to select a bunch of objects in a
> drawing application via box-select, where the start of
> the drag is on an object that is not to be selected.

Nothing standard that I'm aware of when the object is directly under
the cursor. There's always Cmd-A for Select All then use the Shift key
to deselect sets of objects at a time. But if the objects fully cover
the area in question, then the user will need to do things like zoom
out until they see canvas area to work with, or select some of the
objects in the way and "lock" or "group" them to have them ignored by
the mouseDown event. If the application has layers, like PS or AI do,
then if the user organized the objects in a smart fashion, they can
also lock down layers and make its objects not selectable.

This last bit is what most users do in Illustrator. Set up the
illustration such that the layers palette can easily have pieces
toggled in locked states. A layer that is locked means the user can
click on they want on the object, but it will never be grabbed.

If you are looking to try and find a new model, you can always go the
route lots of 3D apps or other object manipulation programs go. that is
to use combinations of the Right Mouse with modifier keys to create a
new model. But none of these models are "standard" as they all do their
own thing, in their own unique ways.

Andrei Herasimchuk
andrei at adobe.com
Shadowland Project Lead
----------
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Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Comment: A great character study by Spike Lee, proving once again that
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20 Feb 2004 - 4:37pm
Robert Reimann
2003

Have you considered providing a current selection
list view in the margin of the main work area that
populates with selected objects (using reasonable
naming conventions and/or thumbnails)? You could
then use this list to deselect unwanted objects
in a straightforward manner (provide a widget by
which to deselect each object), though it would not
be possible as a single gesture. Note that this
same view can be used to show object status and
possibly also to reorder how objects are layered
by dragging up/down within the list.

Robert.

On Feb 19, 2004, at 12:53 PM, Sandeep Jain wrote:

> Anyone know what the convention or solution is for
> allowing a user to select a bunch of objects in a
> drawing application via box-select, where the start of
> the drag is on an object that is not to be selected.

23 Feb 2004 - 12:38am
Adam Korman
2004

The "marquee" tool in most drawing apps essentially puts you in a
select-only mode. This, or some variation, might help avoid part of the
problem (moving the first object you touch).

Some applications require that you surround an entire object with your
box selection in order to select it. This is more common in non-drawing
applications that have some drawing features (Word, for example). This
might help avoid the other part of the problem (unwittingly selecting a
large underlying zone).

Unfortunately, both of these approaches have drawbacks that may
outweigh the benefits.

Regards, Adam

On Feb 19, 2004, at 12:53 PM, Sandeep Jain wrote:

> Anyone know what the convention or solution is for
> allowing a user to select a bunch of objects in a
> drawing application via box-select, where the start of
> the drag is on an object that is not to be selected.
>
> The common result is that when the user does
> box-select a set of zones, a large zone under all the
> target zones gets moved, instead. Very annoying.

23 Feb 2004 - 3:18pm
sandeepblues
2003

This is a response to the various responses on this
subject.

Layers requires too much planning on the part of the
user. It might be a necessity in Photoshop, and it
lends itself well to the mental model created by that
application: one monolithic result produced by
collapsing many independent layers.

In my application, there are multiple zones created
over a map. There isn't a monolithic result, really,
and the layers would not be independent layers.

I like the idea of a marquee tool. It's an obvious one
that I totally missed. I can modify its functionality
by only allowing objects that are wholy encompassed to
be selected.

I also like the idea of using Alt-drag, as Mark Canlas
mentioned. I might make that the shortcut to enabling
the marquee tool.

Thanks for your responses.

Sandeep

--- Adam Korman <adamk at flexid.com> wrote:
> The "marquee" tool in most drawing apps essentially
> puts you in a
> select-only mode. This, or some variation, might
> help avoid part of the
> problem (moving the first object you touch).
>
> Some applications require that you surround an
> entire object with your
> box selection in order to select it. This is more
> common in non-drawing
> applications that have some drawing features (Word,
> for example). This
> might help avoid the other part of the problem
> (unwittingly selecting a
> large underlying zone).
>
> Unfortunately, both of these approaches have
> drawbacks that may
> outweigh the benefits.
>
> Regards, Adam
>

23 Feb 2004 - 3:43pm
Dave Malouf
2005

BTW, this is why I so much prefer Fireworks to Photoshop for design
purposes. Dealing w/ photographs Photoshop by its name is the right tool,
but when trying to do this illustrative/bitmap creation work Fireworks
through its selection differentiation is a much more solid too.

Every! object is independent regarless of what layer it is in and layers
are used as a means of support as opposed as a means to separate.

IMHO.

-- dave

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