Selecting the Highlighted Person (Or Not)

I’ve been working this morning on a project to enter 1950 census information for all the people in my database who will appear in a printed book I will produce for an upcoming family reunion. I’ve been using RM9’s new Refreshable Groups feature where the refreshable group is a list of persons who will be in the reunion book who were alive in 1950 and for whom I have not yet entered their 1950 census information.

The Refreshable Groups feature works a charm for this project. I go back and forth between People List view and Family View. I go first to People List view, filter by the group, and click on the first person in the view to select them. I then switch to Family View to do the data entry because entering census data will be entering data for everyone in the census entry. In other words, the data entry is by family and not just for one person at a time.

Upon completing data entry for the family, I return to People List view and refresh the group. The refresh process removes not only the previously highlighted person from the group, but also all the other family members for whom I just entered their 1950 census information. This is great. I wish RM would have supported this sort of thing decades ago.

But I noticed a little curiosity. Namely, a new person was now highlighted at the top of the list and the highlighted person was also selected! It’s not surprising that the top person was now highlighted, but it was very surprising that the top person was also selected.

Normally, when I enter Family List view or apply a filter of any kind to Family List view, there is a person who is highlighted who may not be the selected person. You can determine that the highlighted person is not the selected person by comparing the highlighted person to the person who is displayed in the top half of the left sidebar. I think this is a very dysfunctional design, but I suspect it is not going to change. I therefore have been training myself always to click once on the highlighted person in People List view any time I enter People List view to be sure the selected person and the highlighted person are the same person. The curiosity is that after refreshing a group from People List view, it apparently is not necessary to click the highlighted person to make them into the selected person because they are already selected.

I’m not even sure what I wish for at this point, except that I wish for a little more consistency of behavior. I can understand that it might not be very desirable that simply switching into People List view would change the person who was the selected person. But I still think that a mismatch between the highlighted person and the selected person is completely illogical and should be completely avoided. The only way I can think of to achieve this goal is not to highlight anybody at all in People List view if doing so would result in a mismatch. The lack of a highlight would be the user’s cue to highlight somebody.

The same sort of thing can happen with Couple List view, except that with Couple List view the behavior is not dysfunctional and no one becomes highlighted. Namely, if you highlight a person in Family View who has no spouse and switch to Couple List view, it switches just fine. All the couples are listed just fine and none of them are highlighted. I think the same thing needs to be the case in People List view. If the currently selected person cannot be displayed in People List view, then no one should be highlighted. That’s because the highlighting provides a false cue that the person has been selected when the person has not actually been selected.

But let’s return to my original observation that a refresh of my group changed both the highlighted and selected person. That’s because the originally highlighted and selected person had been deleted from the group. I’m not surprised that the refresh highlighted the first person in the list. But I’m very surprised (and pleasantly surprised) that the refresh also selected the first person in the list. It’s a really good thing. But I clicked the person anyway because highlighting in People List view doesn’t always equate to selecting.


I think I experienced something similar once before (discovered basically accidentally ). I had planned to test later - so I am glad you raise this point so it could be discussed.