Browse Prior Art Database

Quick Navigation Aid for Tree View

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015209D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Oct-27
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 6 page(s) / 92K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Problem Tree view is a frequently used user interface (UI) widget in software applications to show hierarchies. When users are browsing the nested tree hierarchy to search for an item, they may need to open a lot of folders, sometimes to a great depth, only to close them again and move onto other folders and repeat the process. In addition, when opening nested folders of many levels, the tree view requires extensive vertical and horizontal screen real estate to make the text visible. If the tree view is used in a linked panes setup, users would need to constantly expand and shrink the tree view pane to see the content in the tree view pane and its linked panes. For example, Windows file explorer or online help system have such tree view linked panes setup. Having a good search function would aleviate some of these problems, but exact match doesn't come freely and easily, and browsing tree hierachies is still a key user scenario. User Interface Design The proposed UI design is to use hierarchical pop-up menu as a quick navigation aid for tree view UI widget. Users would simply float their mouse cursor over the folders or items in the tree view and see what is in them quickly, without actually having to do any clicking or expanding and collapsing of the tree hierarchies. Nested tree folders would be shown as hierarchical sub-menus in the main pop-up menu. This UI design gives users a quick and easy way to scan through the tree hierarchies, while users still have the option to make a selection simply by clicking on the item in the tree view. In a typical tree view linked panes setup, such as an integrated development environment (IDE), users can browse the tree hierarchies by clicking and opening the folders to see the nested structure and the items in the folders. Here's a diagram of the Eclipse based IDE: 1

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Page 1 of 6

Quick Navigation Aid for Tree View

Problem Tree view is a frequently used user interface (UI) widget in software applications to show hierarchies. When users are browsing the nested tree hierarchy to search for an item, they may need to open a lot of folders, sometimes to a great depth, only to close them again and move onto other folders and repeat the process. In addition, when opening nested folders of many levels, the tree view requires extensive vertical and horizontal screen real estate to make the text visible. If the tree view is used in a linked panes setup, users would need to constantly expand and shrink the tree view pane to see the content in the tree view pane and its linked panes. For example, Windows file explorer or online help system have such tree view linked panes setup. Having a good search function would aleviate some of these problems, but exact match doesn't come freely and easily, and browsing tree hierachies is still a key user scenario.

User Interface Design The proposed UI design is to use hierarchical pop-up menu as a quick navigation aid for tree view UI widget. Users would simply float their mouse cursor over the folders or items in the tree view and see what is in them quickly, without actually having to do any clicking or expanding and collapsing of the tree hierarchies. Nested tree folders would be shown as hierarchical sub-menus in the main pop-up menu. This UI design gives users a quick and easy way to scan through the tree hierarchies, while users still have the option to make a selection simply by clicking on the item in the tree view.

In a typical tree view linked panes setup, such as an integrated development environment (IDE), users can browse the tree hierarchies by clicking and opening the folders to see the nested structure and the items in the folders. Here's a diagram of the Eclipse based IDE:

1

Page 2 of 6

Instead of forcing users to open the nested folders in the tree view, we propose using hierarchical pop-up menu as a quick navigation aid for tree view UI widget. Users would simply float their mouse cursor over the folders or items in the tree view and see what is in them quickly, without actually having to do any clicking or expanding and collapsing of the tree hierarchies. The following diagram shows what happens when users float their mouse cursor on the folder named "Web Modules" (to avoid conflicts with existing fly-over help support, in our UI prototype, users need to hold the modifier key "Control" as they float their mouse over the tree view items to trigger the pop...