Fundamentals of Designing User Interaction - General Interaction Techniques
One of the most common ways of identifying or accessing an object is by navigating to it. The following sections include information about mouse and keyboard techniques.
Navigation with the mouse is simple; when a user moves the mouse left or right, the pointer moves in the corresponding direction on the screen. As the mouse moves away from or toward the user, the pointer moves up or down. By moving the mouse, the user can move the pointer to any location on the screen.
Keyboard navigation requires a user to press specific keys and key combinations to move the input focus the indication of where the input is being directed to a particular location. The appearance of the input focus varies by context; in text, it appears as a text cursor or insertion point. In most other contexts, it is represented by a dotted rectangle. You should display the input focus location in any active window.
For more information about displaying the input focus, see Chapter 14, "Visual Design."
Basic Navigation Keys
The navigation keys are the four arrow keys and the HOME, END, PAGE UP, PAGE DOWN, and TAB keys. Pressed in combination with the CTRL key, a navigation key increases the movement increment. For example, where pressing RIGHT ARROW moves right one character in a text field, pressing CTRL+RIGHT ARROW moves right one word in the text field. The following table lists the common navigation keys and their functions. You can define additional keys for navigation.
|Basic Navigation Keys|
|Press this key||To move the cursor||Press CTRL+this key to move the cursor|
|LEFT ARROW||Left one unit||Left one (larger) unit|
|RIGHT ARROW||Right one unit||Right one (larger) unit|
|UP ARROW||Up one unit or line||Up one (larger) unit|
|DOWN ARROW||Down one unit or line||Down one (larger) unit|
|HOME||Beginning of line||Beginning of data or file (top-most position)|
|END||End of line||End of data or file (bottom-most position)|
|PAGE UP||Up one screen (previous screen, same position)||Left one screen (or previous unit, if left is not meaningful)|
|PAGE DOWN||Down one screen (next screen, same position)||Right one screen (or next unit, if right is not meaningful)|
|TAB||Next field (SHIFT+TAB moves in reverse order)||Next larger field|
Unlike mouse navigation, keyboard navigation typically affects existing selections. Optionally, you can support the scroll lock key to enable scrolling navigation without affecting existing selections. If you do so, the keys scroll the appropriate increment.
For more information about keyboard navigation in secondary windows, such as dialog boxes, see Chapter 9, "Secondary Windows."
Other Forms of Navigation
Navigation can also be supported with specific commands or interface elements. For example, viewing operations can sometimes be considered a form of navigation. Opening a document, clicking a link, or switching windows are forms of moving from one context to another.