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Drag and Drop

What are some innovative drag and drop applications you can think of? Now, I drag files accross folders and drag file to an application.

Thursday, July 21, 2005
Not exactly drag and drop, but it is innovative.
MT Heart
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Drag and Drop is undiscoverable (nothing about the screen makes it look like it's possible) and difficult (requiring dexterity of mouse and lots and lots of window management to get things into a position where the source and target are visible). It was the hot new user interface in 1990 but frankly it hasn't aged well.
Joel Spolsky Send private email
Thursday, July 21, 2005
I agree about the visual cues thing.  But that's not to say drag-n-drop is entirely dead. 

Here's example of what looks like good, if simple, implementation of drag-n-drop in a web-based interface.

In the GUI-client world I'm really impressed with the drag-n-drop functionality in AutomatedQA's docking library.  (Docking seems like a subset of drag-n-drop that's anything but dead.)  Instead of making you drag a panel around the interface to see what spots might be receptive to dock the panel, AutomatedQA's component provides visual cues of possible dock sites and makes it easier to dock the panel.  I guess this may be simulating new functionality that's part of the VS.NET 2005 IDE.
Herbert Sitz Send private email
Friday, July 22, 2005
Drag-and-drop can be an easy way to do things, but it can also be an easy way to screw up things accidentally.  If you're going to implement drag-and-drop, make sure it's very easy to completely undo anything that gets dragged-and-dropped.
Kyralessa Send private email
Friday, July 22, 2005
This is not very innovative, but I've found it very useful: In Mac OS X and Windows XP, you can start dragging something, then switch applications using command-tab, and drop it into another application. You can also expose the desktop (using F11 on Macs or windows-key-D on XP) and drag something onto the desktop.
Friday, July 22, 2005
I don't know about OSX, but in versions of Windows that have a task bar, you can drag down to the application's button, wait for it to pop up and then figure out where to do the drop.

And while I understand what Joel is saying, I have a tendency to think that driving a computer is a skill and there are certain things that most users should know before we let them loose. Cut/Copy/Paste (both within and across applications), advanced cursor movement (CTRL+END, anyone?), advanced selection techniques (SHIFT+CTRL+RightArrow), context menus (so that's what that other button is for!), help systems, folder/file management, and drag & drop are on my list of things everybody should know.

I used to teach office applications and fought (along with a couple other instructors) very hard to be allowed to teach the above topics as part of the class. Within 2 years, we went from being the "why would you hire anybody from there", to being the "why would you hire anybody from anywhere else" school. The most common comment from companies that interned (and then hired!) our students was that it was nice to have an expert on hand.
Ron Porter
Friday, July 22, 2005
I've written an entire application based on the idea of Drag & Drop and pop-up menus.  Unfortunately, from my user testing, I think Joel may be right . . .

(The homepage is at .)
Friday, July 22, 2005
I sorta think Joel's comment is nuts. Drag and drop is very useful. Maybe he means it's easier to use the keyboard to cut and paste text? That's true. But drag and drop is useful for things like Photoshop and Illustrator and ten thousand other things besides text editing.
Rich Rogers
Thursday, July 28, 2005

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