The Sanctity of Elements, or Why You Shouldn't be Double-clicking in a textarea
Subject:   i just cant agree.
Date:   2002-05-07 13:50:40
From:   grogg
Response to: i just cant agree.

You've got a point there, and I don't think you and the NutterButterMegaholic are all that opposed.

To use NutMeg's metaphor, pressing the gas pedal on her car makes the car go. Pressing it on a friends makes the horn honk. Obviously a dangerous change of purpose for this element. But gas pedals used to be just slick medal. Now they are ergonomically curved and coated in ribbed rubber for easy grip.

The element has been modified to enhance its purpose, and that is a *good thing*.

Let's look at the text area. The purpose of a textarea is to fit a lot of text in a small amount of space with a scrollable window. If we want the user to acknowledge he or she has read the chunk of text by clicking a link that must be scrolled to within the textarea, have we altered the purpose of the textarea? I say we haven't.

We haven't changed its purpose, we haven't changed how it works. I'd say we have enhanced it's purpose.

But, making a pulldown <select> menu move to a page on release rather than on submit does change how that element works, and so is a dangerous change.

Like everything, no black and white. And I think respect for HTML elements doesn't mean stasis.

MegaNutatron, do you disagree?

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  • i just cant agree.
    2002-05-08 06:11:31  super [View]

    Well, this is my first post in here, I found a link on K10K to meg's article. I'm just starting out in web design, but I think I have a pertinent comment.

    The thing with "The element has been modified to enhance its purpose, and that is a *good thing*." is that I believe users are not pro-change. In that sense I mean that for anyone witty enough, discovering the workings of a navigation is fun and interresting. But for the average user, I don't believe he has that adventurer sense but more of a "What? why is'nt this working like it's supposed to?".

    Although I do have to agree with grogg, change encourages evolution, hence amelioration.
    But I also agree with Meg and M. Nielsen, too much of a change or a major change in the "way" this work is wrong, it'll leave the user in a frustrated position or a "scared" one.

    So these were my though on this topic, as a young designer, I believe I am pulled toward changes or experiences, but I also think there is that other realistic side to it that matters maybe even more.