Browse Prior Art Database

Hidden Menu Choices to Accommodate User Preference

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000012960D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-11
Document File: 2 page(s) / 61K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

In today's typical graphical user interface (GUI) computers, users commonly interact with applications that allow the user to choose from many options, depending on context. For instance, in the word processor I'm currently using to type the words you are reading, from the menu bar pulldowns I can select from 45 different choices. Usability studies have confirmed anecdotal observation that most users of common software applications (e.g. word processors, e-mail, spreadsheets) select a small subset of available menu choices the vast majority of their usage time. Most users have many menu items they never use, or perhaps have used once or twice and never (or rarely) will ever use again. Yet these items remain in the visible interface, cluttering and confusing, and leading to faster mental fatigue ('too much information'). Applications should make use of a service provided by the operating system that allows a user to mark a menu item as 'hidden'. Once marked, the item should not be displayed in the normal usage of the menu.

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Hidden Menu Choices to Accommodate User Preference

    In today's typical graphical user interface (GUI) computers, users commonly interact with applications that allow the user to choose from many options, depending on context.

      For instance, in the word processor I'm currently using to type the words you are reading, from the menu bar pulldowns I can select from 45 different choices.

      Usability studies have confirmed anecdotal observation that most users of common software applications (e.g. word processors, e-mail, spreadsheets) select a small subset of available menu choices the vast majority of their usage time. Most users have many menu items they never use, or perhaps have used once or twice and never (or rarely) will ever use again. Yet these items remain in the visible interface, cluttering and confusing, and leading to faster mental fatigue ('too much information').

      Applications should make use of a service provided by the operating system that allows a user to mark a menu item as 'hidden'. Once marked, the item should not be displayed in the normal usage of the menu.

      For instance, suppose the following Edit menu is by default available to all users of some software package:

      Further suppose that Dan the user tried the Replicate function once, didn't like it, and plans to never use it again (or at least, RARELY use it). This disclosure proposes adding the ability for Dan, when presented with this Edit menu, to right-click over the Replicate choice, bringing up...