Browse Prior Art Database

Inverse operations for the "Never show this again" option

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000011441D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Feb-20
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Feb-20
Document File: 7 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Many current user interfaces allow, while showing optional information, to suppress this optional information in the future by issuing some "Never Show This Again"-option. This is a nice shortcut which allows even inexperienced users to customize their user interface according to their preferences. However, this shortcut is usually one-way, i.e. it is easy to get rid of the optional information, but it can be hard to undo this choice and have the optional information show up again; this is because the "Never Show This Again"-option when issued eliminates itself as well, but the regular (non-shortcut) way to adjust this preference will usually be much more difficult to find - which is after all the main reason to offer this shortcut. In this article, an easy to use and intuitive way is described to allow inverse operations when using a "Never Show This Again"-option.

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Inverse operations for the "Never show this again" option

  In current user interfaces, there are several situations where information is shown optionally. Examples for this optional information:
warnings,

confirmation dialogs which have only one choice to proceed,

selection dialogs which have several choices to proceed but have a default

preselected;

    The benefit when showing the optional information is that the user will not miss this piece of information (in case of examples 1, 2, and 3) or the user will be able to deviate from the default (in case of example 4). The drawback when showing the optional information is that the user may be disturbed or even annoyed in cases where he/she is already aware of the shown information (in case of examples 1, 2, and 3) or will be annoyed in cases where he/she does not want to deviate from the defaults. Thus, enabling or disabling an optional warning, optional message, or optional dialog is good a candidate to be controlled by user's preferences.

    Here is a typical example for a warning in a Web Browser. This warning may be of interest for some users but disturbing for others - depending on both the user's preference and the actual situation. The example consists of two windows:

Window A:

By default, you get this warning in a Web Browser when you switch from unencrypted http protocol (http://.....) to encrypted "secure" http protocol (https://.....).

Window B:


1.


2.


3.


4.

informative messages,

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    By default, you get this warning in a Web Browser when you switch from encrypted "secure" http protocol (https://.....) to unencrypted http protocol (http://.....).

    For user's convenience, both these warning windows show a checkbox "Show This Alert Next Time" so the user has an easy way to get rid of this type of warning, and conceptually get rid of it "forever". This checkbox is a shortcut which usually duplicates the operation to set some option in the appropriate preferences setting menu.

In this example, unchecking the checkbox makes the window disappear in the future; in other implementations, the label may read like "Suppress this Window in the Future" and checking the checkbox makes the window disappear in the future. This shortcut mechanism, in the following called "Never Show This Again"-option, has the advantage that it offers the possibility to customize the behavior of a user interface with one click, and offers to do this right in the situation where the context is well defined and easy to understand; this makes the customization possible even for users who do not have the time, the skill, or the patience to find the regular "non-shortcut" way to do this customization, using the appropriate preferences setting menu.

    However, this technique has a severe disadvantage: the shortcut is "one-way", since as a side effect it deletes itself: when the user unchecks the checkbox "Show This Alert Next Time" in the above example, both th...