Check out this text box:
Here are some of the nuances of using this text box on my operating system (Linux) and web browser (Firefox):
- Double clicking selects a word, and triple-clicking selects the whole line. If I double- or triple-click-and-hold, I can drag the mouse to expand the selection word-wise or line-wise, not just character-wise. This works with the paragraphs of text in the body of this blog post, too.
- Holding control and pressing right will move move word-wise through the file. It always moves to the start or end of the next or prior word, so pressing “control+left, control+left, control+right” will end up in a different position than “control+left” alone. Adding “shift” to any of these will mutate the text selection.
- Clicking any of the whitespace after the end of the text will put the cursor after the last character, even if you click to the left of the last character. This makes it easy to start appending text to the end.
- Clicking and dragging from any point, I can drag the mouse straight upward, exceeding the bounds of the text box or even the entire web browser, to select all text from that point to the start of the text box. (Thanks minus for mentioning this one)
- Selecting text and middle clicking anywhere will paste the text at the clicked location. This uses a separate, distinct clipboard from the one accessed with ctrl+c/ctrl+v. I can also use shift+insert to paste text from this secondary clipboard (this is called the “primary selection”).
I rely on all of these nuances when I use form controls in my everyday life. This is just for English, by the way. I often type in Japanese, which has an entirely alien set of nuances. Here’s what that looks like on Android (mobile is another beast entirely, too!):
Here’s another control:
There’s an invisible edit buffer, so I can type “Pennsylvania” (or just P) to select what I want. I can type “New” and then press down to select “New Jersey”. If I make a mistake and I’ve kept track of what I’ve typed in my head, I can use backspace to make a correction, and it just works. I have lived in both of these places, and worked both of these keystrokes into my muscle memory. Filling out a form with my address on it and using an input box like this to select my state of residence takes me less than a second.
There are hundreds of little nuances that users learn to use their computers efficiently. The exact features a user relies on will vary between operating systems, browsers, hardware, natural languages, physical ability, and personal preferences and experience. There are dozens of tiny workflows that people depend on every day that have never even occurred to you.