How would you like SELECTION/COPY/PASTE to work?

Cleverboy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
So, here's my deal. When I noticed copy & paste (or selection) wasn't in the iPhone, it was a little annoying, but as a UI guy, I could see why. There was an ease-of-use they were going for, and for those operations, they needed to find a WAY to do it, inside of their new paradigm.

PROBLEMS:
1. iPhone has no MENUS (contextual, drop-down... NONE!)
2. iPhone doesn't support DRAG operations on content (hallmark of "selection"), as dragging is a "panning" behavior.

So, how to do "copy/paste/select"?

My solution is this.

Two-fingered doube-tap. If you double-tap on a textarea with two fingers, a selection will appear around the text. The "selection" will be a darkened area with a dotted line around it. At the beginning and end of the selection, will be a light blue DOT with an arrow pointing RIGHT or "INWARD". At the end of the selection, a light blue dot, with an arrow pointing LEFT or "INWARD". You are now in selection mode. You can now drag around the two ends of the selection however you like. Panning with your finger works on ANY OTHER part of the page. You can use the blue dots to increase or decrease the size of the selection, by dragging them around. Tapping ONCE inside the darkened area brings up a alert box. This is similar to most any alert box you see in Safari. "What would you like to DO with the selection?" The two button choices? CUT and COPY.

Now, for PASTE, its a slightly different animal. Once iPhone knows that you have something inside your CLIPBOARD from a CUT/COPY operation, the LOUPE suddenly gains a new behavior. ANY time you finish using the loupe (that special feature when you hold down over text, and you get the magnifying glass effect), an alert box appears with two buttons. "What would you like to do?" -- "PASTE" and "CLEAR". When you're done pasting, you can choose "clear". NOTE: If you are on a text control that does NOT support loupe (for whatever reason), holding down, automatically causes the alert box to appear.

LASTLY, in the "General Settings" area of the iPhone, we get a new clipboard option. This option specifies whether the clipboard automatically CLEARS when you paste something. By default, its set to "YES". The option options are "NO" and "ASK".

I think this would be a PERFECT solution to the problem in my book. It would conform to the iPhone's interface, and it wouldn't add any unecessary clutter... AND it would be easy for most everyone to use and get the hang of.

How would YOU implement it on the iPhone? I'd love to hear them.

~ CB
 

rockstarjoe

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2006
850
54
washington dc
How about this - hold your finger down to bring up the loupe. Position the cursor where you want to end copying / cutting. Then, while still holding your finger down bring your thumb up and "pinch out" to highlight as much text as you want. Tap selection to copy, double tap to cut (where applicable). Not sure how paste would work, though.
 

stockscalper

macrumors 6502a
Aug 1, 2003
917
231
Area 51
How about you just select and drag the text as you do in Word. To delete a selection, drag and select it and then double tap to delete.
 

JonHimself

macrumors 68000
Nov 3, 2004
1,553
4
Toronto, Ontario
How about this - hold your finger down to bring up the loupe. Position the cursor where you want to end copying / cutting. Then, while still holding your finger down bring your thumb up and "pinch out" to highlight as much text as you want. Tap selection to copy, double tap to cut (where applicable). Not sure how paste would work, though.
I was thinking somethign similar to this, using the pinch option to highlight the text... the problem that then comes up is what do you do if you're copying more than one line of text? ie the text I'm copying ends at the left hand side of one line and starts over on the right hand side of the line above it..
 

JonHimself

macrumors 68000
Nov 3, 2004
1,553
4
Toronto, Ontario
(sorry for posting twice)
Perhaps Apple already has several solutions in mind and was waiting to see how people adapted to the iPhone and general trends in how people use it to then choose the best option?
 

Cleverboy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
How about you just select and drag the text as you do in Word. To delete a selection, drag and select it and then double tap to delete.
You have to deal with fat-finger syndrome. The magnifying loupe exists to get precise placement in text. If you wanted to select an EXACTING portion of text, simply dragging your finger across would be very error prone (aside from the fact that the behavior is currently is used for panning the screen).

I'm going to do a graphic of my solution. I just got some more ideas. Instead of the blue dots, they're yellow hoops. As you adjust the selection (in my idea), the magnify loop will appear, showing you exactly where the selection is now starting (or ending). Tapping on a selected area will always bring up an alert box with option buttons (for COPY/PASTE). I really like this idea more and more. Pictures this evening.

~ CB
 

The General

macrumors 601
Jul 7, 2006
4,826
1
Here's how I would have it:

  1. Press and hold to bring up the loop.
  2. With your other hand, press the home button to start highlighting.
  3. Drag loop to make selection.
  4. Release home button to stop highlighting, then release finger.
  5. Show two buttons next to the highlighted text, or at the bottom like in menus on websites. Have cut and copy and paste. Cut would erase and copy the selection. Copy would leave the selected text and copy it for pasting. Paste would paste already copied text into the selection, replacing it, or if no text is selected (just pressing the home button with the loop showing) then it will paste already copied text there.
 

Cleverboy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Here's my idea again, refined, with a nice screenshot:


  1. Double-tap, with two fingers, and screen dims, and text is highlighted (in the closest proximity to the two fingers you tapped. iPhone does automatic "nearest word" calculations to find the most likely "end points" you wanted (when you double-tapped, but generally this won't matter because you can adjust it later). The "end points" appear as small golden "hoops". You are now in "SELECTION MODE". During "selection mode", sliding your finger across the screen still "pans" the region. Pinching to zoom still works normally, as it is a separate gesture.
  2. Using one finger, you can move the "end points", and as you do, the magnifying glass appears giving you detailed placement.
  3. Tapping ONCE inside the selected region with one finger, gives you an alert box with 4 buttons, "COPY", "CUT", "DELETE", "CANCEL". DELETE will delete the text, and CANCEL will deselect the text, and return to normal mode. NOTE: Tapping outside the selecton "CANCELS" the selection also (tapping inside brings up options).
  4. Holding down, and activating the magnifying glass, and letting go, will cause a new alert box to appear when there is text in the clipboard. The buttons will say: "PASTE", "CLEAR", "CANCEL". CANCEL will make the alert box go away. CLEAR will clear the clipboard, and stop it from coming up again until you COPY/CUT more text. If not magnifying glass is available, holding down automatically brings up the alert box for pasting.

I think that's not too techy! I can see this working... come on Apple!

Good one General. It would be nice to avoid a "two-handed" trick though (it would feel too much like an easter egg to me). Bringing the home button into it seems unnatural. The thing I was hoping my idea solved, was the fact that it'd feel VERY comfortable if you could select something, and then "adjust" the selection easily without redoing the ENTIRE operation from scratch if you mess up, or the phone experiences momentary performance issues.

~ CB
 

Cleverboy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
For anyone else passionate about their solution, don't forget:
http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html
Dear Customer:

Thank you for your feedback regarding the iPhone. We cannot respond to you personally, but please know that your message has been received and will be reviewed by the iPhone Feedback Team. If we need to follow up with you on your ideas for improving the iPhone, we will contact you directly.

We appreciate your assistance in making the iPhone better.

iPhone Feedback Team
Apple
~ CB
 

Masquerade

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2007
654
0
you don't need the keyboard layout in the copy paste mode, so, you can with a finger tip start up the copy loop @ near full screen, with bigger text and 2 buttons on bottom with "Copy" and "Paste".
 

Cleverboy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
you don't need the keyboard layout in the copy paste mode, so, you can with a finger tip start up the copy loop @ near full screen, with bigger text and 2 buttons on bottom with "Copy" and "Paste".
You're totally right. Good one. In "selection mode", I'd say "CUT", "COPY", "DELETE", "CANCEL" would make for the 4 appropriate buttons across the bottom of a screen otherwise clear of buttons.

Makes a lot of sense for it to just be on the screen and not an alert box whether you're in a text edit region or looking at a "read only" area of content like a web page. The only question would then be how to get "PASTE" on the screen when in "text edit" mode (the only time it is really an option). You could add it to the keyboard. That would certainly make sense, though WHERE would be the question.

~ CB
 

cheture

macrumors newbie
Jan 27, 2008
1
0
Another idea.

Thumb on begin copy char, index finger on end copy char. Pinch to grab (copy).
Place cursor on paste location, stretch to paste.

advance features: vertical pinch to copy, horizotal pinch to cut.

Let me know what you think.
 

FakeWozniak

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2007
428
27
Thumb on begin copy char, index finger on end copy char. Pinch to grab (copy).
Place cursor on paste location, stretch to paste.

advance features: vertical pinch to copy, horizotal pinch to cut.

Let me know what you think.
For Apple to do it, it has to be the MOST intuitive, and I think this is it. Unfortunately, the "API" might need to support more than text, like graphics for example, so the pinch and spread might not play well with the zooming gestures.

My thoughts are anything editable, usually uses the lower half of the screen to pull up a keyboard or other "edit tools". Why not just add a "start selection" (selection auto completes (is modal)), "cut", "copy", and "paste" button. Since room is scarce, it might need to be a "clipboard" popup menu. Finally, there would be a gesture shortcut, like command x/c/v. Wonder how that will play with Palm's Graffiti (v1 or v2) in the Patent arena...

This isn't as easy as your pinch/spread method.
 

skwoytek

macrumors 6502a
Feb 15, 2005
706
0
I think the solution will involve a tap and hold. Maybe implement magnify mode for all text (not just editable text) and do not exit magnify mode automatically, instead a tap closes the magnify mode. Of course, this would take the elegance out of cursor movement/insertion. However, my logic is that tap and hold already has an association with moving the text cursor.

This would also conflict with tap and hold for website links which currently brings up the link information.
 

thegman1234

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2007
321
0
Long Island
Thumb on begin copy char, index finger on end copy char. Pinch to grab (copy).
Place cursor on paste location, stretch to paste.

advance features: vertical pinch to copy, horizotal pinch to cut.

Let me know what you think.
I was thinking the same thing. Hold one finger down to bring up the loop and slide it to where u want one end point to be, then do the same thing with another finger for the other end point. But instead of pinching and stretching to copy and paste, just tap and hold on the highlighted text to bring up a drop box with options. Same thing for pasting.
 

hybrid_x

macrumors regular
Jan 5, 2004
158
199
Teh Interwebz
If a single-finger tap-and-hold brings up the magnifying glass, why not have a two-finger tap-and-hold bring up a select/copy/paste/delete interface, where a tap-drag can be used to select, and tap-hold can bring up a contextual menu to cut, copy, paste or delete?
 

bj3949

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2007
254
0
The Simplest Way To Copy And Paste

Wherever you are in iPhone, email, notes, SMS etc, there just needs to be one quick way to turn iPhone into Edit Mode. I think it should be a button added to the keyboard called EDIT.

1) Click on EDIT Button on main keyboard.
2) Now that you're in EDIT mode, all you have to do is swipe your finger over any text you want to edit. Simply highlight the text with your finger by swiping over it and let go when you're done.
3) Once text is highlighted, just simply double tap anywhere on the highlighted text to get the highlighted text into Ready Mode. Highlighted text at this point gets outlined and shaky (kinda' like shaking icons on Home Screen).
4) Now your text is highlighted and outlined with a little Delete-black-circled "X" in the upper left corner of the selected highlighted text box.
5) a) To Delete, simply tap the black-circled "X" (just like deleting a bookmark icon on Home Screen).
b) To Move, simply tap-hold text box but start moving your finger right away to your new desired location for the text.
c) To Copy, simply tap-hold text box but hold finger down on it for 2 seconds minimum.
d) To Paste, after text is Copied, simply put cursor where you want to Paste text and then double tap. At this point a Clipboard will appear for you to choose all your recent Copy selections. Simply now just choose one.


NOTE: The magnifying glass does not work in Edit Mode.
NOTE 2: Automatically, after you Paste text, you exit Edit Mode.
 

skwoytek

macrumors 6502a
Feb 15, 2005
706
0
Won't we still need the loupe for selecting text to copy.

I think the main point of the loupe is so I can see where the cursor is since my finger covers a width of about 9 letters of text. Not coincidentally, the loupe shows me almost exactly the more than half-inch diameter that my finger is covering. Without a loupe, I'd never know where my cursor was moving and would have to continuously edit my text selections.
 

ablemac

macrumors newbie
Jan 28, 2008
8
0
Simple COPY or CUT and PASTE for iPhone

Simple COPY or CUT and PASTE for iPhone

COPY/CUT
Two finger touch and hold opens magnifier loop for a start point. Slide the two fingers around together to adjust the starting point. Lifting both fingers off while they're still together will cancel the action.

Once the starting point is selected, hold one finger there and move the other finger away from it then lift either finger off. Move the remaining finger to the desired end point. Lifting the final finger will copy the text and leave it highlighted in a new color.

To adjust the end point, simply use a touch and hold (single finger), and slide to a new end point and release. Since text is already highlighted, the touch and hold will adjust the end point.

Pressing the delete button at this point turns a "copy" into a "cut".

PASTE
Two finger click and hold opens the magnifier again for a starting point (it deselects any highlighted text). Spread the fingers, then lift both off to paste.

DELETE/UNDO/REDO
delete, a swipe to the left. Undo, a swipe to the left and immediately to the right. Redo, a swipe to the left, right, left again.


NOTES:
-If nothing is on the clipboard, a paste should NOT be recorded as an undoable action since there would be no feedback for the user upon an undo and/or redo action.
-A single touch will deselect any highlighted text if you want to cancel a copy after you've already defined an end point.

Apple is free to use this idea that I am presenting here on macrumors. I did not base this on anything except my experience with my iPhone. I will also be posting this to Apple's feedback form and my own blog at my dot com.

Able
http://www.ablemac.com/blog