In web development there is a term called “set focus” that allows user of a web page to have their cursor start at a specified location on the page. It’s frequently utilized on forms and allows users to use the tab key after each entry to get from one form box to another. It alleviates the need to remove your fingers from the keyboard when filling out forms — no need to use the mouse.
I develop web sites for a living and learned that one of my sites didn’t have a set focus for filling in grade forms. Instructors had to use the mouse to go from one grade field to the next, to the next, to the next, all the way down the page, then click the submit key. What a pain! If I had been the one having to input the grades, I would have gone insane. Recently, a teacherÂ approached me and requested (begged) a simple enhancement — “set focus” for the first input field on the page. This will allow him to input a grade with the stroke of a number on the keyboard, then tab to the next grade field, enter the number, tab to the next field — all the way down the page until he tabs to the submit button and hits enter. No mouse needed.
This simple correction on the page will save each instructor tons of time. And frustration. By setting the focus on one thing, it allows for everything else to fall into place. I was thinking of this the other day as I was on the computer in my home office. My 2 year old came into the office wanting to watch a cartoon on TV. “Just a minute,” I replied. My focus was on the computer, not my kids. My focus was not set in the right place that evening.
Luckily, I realized my error and got off the computer to go play with my daughter. She enjoyed the attention and I enjoyed the time together. I need to remember to set focus in my own life so that I can have a natural flow of interactions with my family, instead of unnecessary distractions that lead to useless frustrations.
Photo credit: stock x change.