Browse Prior Art Database

Augmented ToolTip Support for Menus

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016106D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Jul-29
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
Document File: 3 page(s) / 382K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Problem ToolTip is sometimes used to provide a short description of a menu item's functionality. However, when a menu item is disabled, users often don't know why and how to re-enable it. Users are usually left on their own to do "trial and error" exploration to find out why a menu item is disabled and how to re-enable it. This is often a tedious and frustrating user experience. I propose an augmented ToolTip mechanism to solve this problem. User Interface Invention An augmented ToolTip user interface design is proposed to support menus. The values of this UI design are the following:

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Augmented ToolTip Support for Menus

Problem

ToolTip is sometimes used to provide a short description of a menu item's functionality. However, when a menu item is disabled, users often don't know why and how to re-enable it. Users are usually left on their own to do "trial and error" exploration to find out why a menu item is disabled and how to re-enable it. This is often a tedious and frustrating user experience. I propose an augmented ToolTip mechanism to solve this problem.

User Interface Invention

An augmented ToolTip user interface design is proposed to support menus. The values of this UI design are the following:

It provides users value-add information on why a menu item is disabled and how to re-enable it It preserves the current usage and operation of ToolTip for menus

The following diagram illustrates the typical information a ToolTip would show in current software products.

The ToolTip only contains information on what the menu item ("Delete Speaker Note..." in this case) does, but doesn't provide any clue on why it's currently disabled and how to re-enable it.

Using my proposed augmented ToolTip user interface, the following diagram shows what it looks like:

If users simply browse around in the menu, this augmented ToolTip works just like the current ToolTip control. However, when users want to find out why a menu item is disabled and how to re-enable it, they can click on the ">>" control in the augmented ToolTip to get the additional information. Th...