Browse Prior Art Database

User Interface for Selecting Items

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000012055D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Apr-04
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Apr-04
Document File: 4 page(s) / 635K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

The present invention relates to a user interface for exploring selectable items.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
At least one non-text object (such as an image or picture) has been suppressed.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 87% of the total text.

Page 1 of 4

User Interface for Selecting Items

   The present invention relates to a user interface for exploring selectable items. The user of a computing system is continually faced with choices. Various controls and widgets exist in known user interface systems to assist a user in choosing pathways through a program. Examples of such controls and widgets include push buttons, radio buttons, check boxes, combination boxes, lists and tree views. For example, a group of radio buttons or a combination box may give a user a choice of one of several connection modes in a web browser program.

In some cases, the choice at hand may involve more than one dimension. Consider, as a simple example, a program that allows a user to choose the interior colour and exterior colour of an automobile before making a purchase. Assume that the manufacturer only allows certain combinations of interior and exterior colours. In a conventional design, two successive controls may be used to obtain a user's choice: First, the user may be presented with a list of exterior colours; then, having made a selection from the first list, the user may be presented with a list of interior colours. A possible disadvantage of such a design is that an "order of thought" is imposed on the user. A possible consequence of this imposed order is that certain selection options may remain hidden to the user. Therefore, what is needed is a user interface design which allows a user to explore user selectable items without such an imposed order.

The present invention provides a user interface system and method that displays two or more sets of user selectable items concurrently to a user without imposing any particular order. Upon the user making a selection of an item from one of the sets, one or more items in one of the other sets may be identified as being valid or not valid for selection with that item. Feedback is provided to the user such that the consequences of making certain choices are immediately apparent, and possible selections are presented to the user without an imposed order.

FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of an exemplary computer system in which the invention may be embodied. FIG. 1a is a schematic block diagram of a data model in accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the present inventio...