Add the ability to select an object by clicking it's visual appearance (strokes, glyphs, effects)
Sometimes selection tools fail (seemingly) to pick up object.
For example, if you have an object with fat stroke, clicking to outside part of that stroke will select nothing (or object underneath stroke) — you have to select in/inside edge to do it.
Second example — type object, with an empty descender zone, behind baseline; you click below letters to select an object behind, but pick type object instead.
Third example — object with a subtle but wide drop shadow effect applied to it. Shadow is almost invisible (low opacity and light color), but when you click in it, AI selects object anyway, while you expect to select object behind it.
I guess, it would be nice to have an option (and temp mode as well) for Direct selection tool to pick an object based on visual rather the structure.
You could set a tick in Control panel or hold some modifier key (as Photoshop does, when you toggle auto-select for Move tool).
Then you could pick an object, by clicking in outside part of the stroke, or clicking through letters, or clicking through enough transparent shadows.
Fasih Khan commented
Yes, selection of objects with thicker stroke in earlier versions of Illustrator was easier. Not sure why they made it harder in recent versions.
The selection tool has always been a bit inconsistent. Mostly you click the object to select it, except:
1. Stroked lines: you have to click the path to select it no matter how thick the stroke. This makes it counter-intuitive and also very difficult to select these. It would be so much easier and intuitive to select any part of the stroke.
2. Text: you can click a strangely large area above and below and around text which is invisible and not in any way part of the text. This makes it difficult to select objects around and below the text because you are often inadvertently selecting neighboring text. It would be much more intuitive to only be able to click on the text itself to select it (as you would after it is outlined).
3. Drop shadows: it is probably actually selecting part of the shadow but the outer spread is not visible and much larger often than the shadow appears to the eye. It would be more intuitive if only the visible part of the shadow effect was selectable.
FreeHand allowed to select a shape by clicking its stroke, but it was not able to select it if you marquee it or its edge even (Ai does the latter). This is enclosing mode by default. But if you hold Alt (white arrow enables) and marquee a piece of it, you get whole shape selected when Alt is released (not like if you tried its Direct Selection white arrow, that does the same as Ai's). So in FH we had both enclosing and partial marquee modes! From the box! Ai has only one and has no by-stroke selection.
Stroke is immune to a selection. To select an object with a bold stroke, you have to precisely click the actual edge of it or marquee through it.
There is an option to make the bounding box include strokes, 'Use Preview Bounds', but it doesn’t affect this behaviour.
It’d be nice to have a separate option that allows users to click anywhere on a stroke and select the object with it.