Depending on the number of intervening steps the user must take to complete a transfer operation, transfer techniques span two categories: direct manipulation and indirect manipulation.
Direct manipulation is similar to interacting with things in the real world; when users need to throw something away, they simply pick it up and put it in a trash can. Similarly, users can drag a file and drop it on a trash can icon in the interface. Direct manipulation is usually more efficient than performing the equivalent actions through navigating menu items.
By using a keyboard exclusively, a user can obtain results equivalent to those available through direct manipulation.
Direct and indirect manipulation represent two ends of a range. In reality, manipulation techniques often fall somewhere between direct and indirect manipulation. For example, using a pop-up menu is more direct than using other kinds of menus, but it is less direct than dragging an element.
Transfer techniques fall into the following range, from direct to indirect manipulation:
Drag and drop provides a quick and simple method of transferring data. The technique is called drag and drop because it involves moving an element from one place (dragging) and leaving it at another (dropping). The user can drag and drop single or multiple elements.
The result of a drag and drop depends on the relationship between the source element and the target element.
Within a collection (set of elements), the user can either drag a selected subset of elements, a single unselected element, or the entire collection depending on the following:
Figure 38 illustrates dragging a file into a trash can.
Figure 38. Drag and Drop.
For more information, see the Data Transfer, Direct Manipulation, and Drag and Drop Transfer reference pages.
Primary transfer allows the user to transfer a primary selection from a source directly to a destination without dragging it and without using a storage mechanism, such as a clipboard. There are three primary transfer operations: primary copy, primary link, and primary move.
For example, a user can select a paragraph in help text, move the mouse pointer to the target area in another window, and transfer the paragraph by pressing the TRANSFER button.
Figure 39 illustrates a primary transfer.
Figure 39. Primary Transfer.
For more information, see the Primary Transfer reference page.
Quick transfer allows the user to make a temporary selection that does not affect the current selection within the scope of selection. The user can then immediately copy, move, or link that selection to the insertion point in the control in which the user is interacting. There are three quick transfer operations: quick copy, quick cut (or quick move), and quick link.
Figure 40 illustrates a quick transfer.
Figure 40. Quick Transfer.
For more information, see the Quick Transfer reference page.
The clipboard is an area of storage provided by the operating system to hold data temporarily. A user can cut, copy, and paste elements to and from the clipboard. For example, the clipboard can hold a single line of text or an entire document, a single data record or an entire database, a single line segment or an entire graphic.
The user can perform the clipboard transfer operations cut, copy, and paste from the Edit menu. Standard keyboard bindings must also be available in every editable data collection.
Except when necessary to prevent the corruption of data, you should not restrict the user from placing any elements or parts of elements onto the clipboard.
Figure 41 illustrates a clipboard transfer.
Figure 41. Clipboard Transfer.
For more information, see Appendix B. "Keyboard Model and Key Bindings" and the Clipboard and Cut, Copy, Paste reference pages.