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Principles of operating on objects

There are many situations, where the users need to operate on a database record as an object. The simplest example is to delete the record. This document specifies the user interface that should be implemented in Eionet systems.

In several areas of Eionet, deleting an object has been implemented roughly like the example 1 below:

Example 1

roug Edit member Delete member from localgroup
kasperen Edit member Delete member from localgroup
ghicaale Edit member Delete member from localgroup

Try to click on an X. It is safe. You won't delete anything.

The main problem with the approach is that the delete operation is a destructive operation, and therefore the application has often been fitted with a confirmation dialogue asking if the user really wants to do the operation. Many usability tests have shown that the users don't read those popups, but just click on Yes or OK. The next problem is that the delete button is very small and very close to the edit button, making it easy for a user who is in a hurry to accidentally click on the wrong icon.

New mechanism

Humans are fallible, and therefore we'll always need a two-step approach to destructive operations, but it can be implemented in more elegant ways. The example below forces you to first select the object, then delete it in a two-step procedure.

Example 2

roug Edit member
kasperen Edit member
ghicaale Edit member

As you can see, it provides the same safety, but without a popup. The userinterface can also be enhanced to do bulk operations, i.e. operate on several objects in one go, and you can add more operations. The next example shows ideas for more operations, and it put the edit operation on the title of the object rather than a small icon.

Example 3