Interface Test: Editing from the additem table

One of the custom reports I’ve been using recently is one that shows me the most expensive items in the catalog. I’m not trying to figure out which book to sneak out under my coat, I’m trying to find data-entry errors which might cause problems for the patrons.

You lost that paperback? That’ll be $4399.00.

The trouble is, once I’m cruising through this report making corrections I’m quickly frustrated by the interface for adding items.additem-interface

The list of items is in its own container with the css property “overflow:auto” so that if it exceeds the constraints of the container it’s in it will display scrollbars. It always displays scrollbars. You have to scroll to the right to see the item’s replacement price, then back to the left to find the Edit link. And it’s hard to be sure you clicked the Edit link in the correct row, because once you’re at the Edit link you can’t see the price anymore!

What if we could access the Edit and Delete functions from anywhere in the row? Inspired by WordPress’s inline edit menu I worked up this example:


Try navigating anywhere in the table of item details and clicking a table cell. You’ll see Edit/Delete links appear for that row. Implementing this change would allow the user to jump to the Edit or Delete functionality from anywhere in the table eliminating the need to scroll back and forth for the static links.

The advantage to the method used in this example is that it’s simple: no generating tooltips or modal dialogs, just a simple append of the Edit|Delete links to the table cell which gets clicked.

[sourcecode language=”javascript”]

var $tgt = $(;
if($“a”)||$“:first-child”)||$“:nth-child(2)”)){ return true; } else {
var rowid = $(this).parent().attr(“id”);
num_rowid = rowid.replace(“row”,””);
$(this).append(“Edit | Delete“);


The disadvantage to the resulting UI is that it could suggest to the user that clicking Edit or Delete will edit or delete just the contents of that cell, which is of course incorrect. It wouldn’t be good for a librarian to expect a click on “Delete” to delete, for instance, only the value contained in the replacementprice field and find that the entire item had been deleted.

I’m not sure how to mitigate that confusion while retaining the script’s simplicity.

Update: Here’s an alternate, slightly more verbose version.

3 thoughts on “Interface Test: Editing from the additem table

  1. Daniel G

    Brilliant, indeed!

    As for mitigating the confusion, I know you want less confusion WITHOUT more clutter, but how about appending “Row,” “Record”, or “Rec” to “Edit” and to “Del”?


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