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[Bug 14059] New: Reconsider backspace behavior at the start of a list item

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Wed, 07 Sep 2011 13:54:13 +0000
To: public-webapps@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-14059-2927@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=14059

           Summary: Reconsider backspace behavior at the start of a list
                    item
           Product: WebAppsWG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: All
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML Editing APIs
        AssignedTo: ayg@aryeh.name
        ReportedBy: ayg@aryeh.name
         QAContact: sideshowbarker+html-editing-api@gmail.com
                CC: mike@w3.org, public-webapps@w3.org


If you backspace at the beginning of a list item that's not the first in the
list, the spec says to merge the current item with the previous one, preserving
a line break in between but getting rid of the list marker.  In other words:

   <ol><li>foo<li>[]bar</ol>
-> <ol><li>foo<br>[]bar</ol>

Then if you backspace again, it will get rid of the preceding break as usual:

-> <ol><li>foo[]bar</ol>

IIRC, browsers all just merge the blocks straight away, which is not desired:

   <ol><li>foo<li>[]bar</ol>
-> <ol><li>foo[]bar</ol>

According to my comments in the spec, the current spec matches OpenOffice.org
3.2.1 Ubuntu.  Word 2007 behaves the same for the first backspace, but the
second backspace outdents the current paragraph:

   <ol><li>foo<br>[]bar</ol>
-> <ol><li>foo</ol>[]bar

Google Docs right now seems to make the first backspace outdent the item:

   <ol><li>foo<li>[]bar</ol>
-> <ol><li>foo</ol>[]bar

I'm not totally sure what the best behavior is.  I think browsers' behavior (if
I remember it correctly) is just wrong.  The OO/spec behavior seems reasonable,
but it gives no obvious way to outdent a list item by just using Backspace and
Enter and such.  (You'd have to make an empty item before the item you want to
outdent, then hit Enter while in that item to outdent it, then backspace twice
in the item you want to outdent so that it merges with it, or something
similarly counterintuitive.)

Google Docs' behavior is reasonable, but it takes away one way of making a
multiparagraph list item.  Users would have to use Ctrl-Enter or such, which is
not discoverable.

Word 2007's behavior is the most flexible, since it allows you to accomplish
any of the three effects: one backspace gives a multiparagraph item, two
outdents, three merges.  But it's also the most cumbersome to merge, requiring
three consecutive keystrokes.

So I'm not sure where to go here.  I wonder if the Docs people have usability
research whose conclusions they could share?

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Received on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 13:54:18 GMT

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