Browse Prior Art Database

Process to Allow Easy Navigation via Scrollbar Buttons

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000019867D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Oct-02
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Oct-02
Document File: 2 page(s) / 251K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This disclosure provides the means to allow the user quick and easy access to the functionality of the navigational scrollbar buttons. The use of scrollbars within any software application allows users to scroll outside the constraints of a viewable area. Examples of where scrollbars are typically useful and seen include tables that contain too many columns or rows to be displayed to the user all at the same time or a web page that is either too wide or too long to be contained within the viewable area of a web browser. Scrollbars are typically located to the right of a viewing area, allowing the user to scroll up or down within the viewing area; scrollbars can also be found at the bottom of a viewable area, allowing the user to scroll left or right. The controls of a scrollbar are standard across software applications; vertical scrollbars contain both an up and down button at the far ends of the scrollbar track while horizontal scrollbars contain both a left and right button at the far ends of the scrollbar track, When depressing any of the scrollbar buttons, the viewable area shifts in the direction of the depressed button, allowing the user to see information that was not previously viewable. In addition, a knob is present on the scrollbar track, serving both as an indicator to the user of the current location within the viewable area as well as allowing the user to grab and drag the knob across the scrollbar to quickly (at the user's discretion) scroll fast or slow within the constraints of the viewable area. When using the standard scrollbars found of any software application, users are constantly forced to move the mouse cursor to either the up/down/left/right position of the scrollbar track in order to gain access to the scrollbar's navigational buttons. If the user has the mouse cursor over or near the scrollbar knob (which is a typical scenario for users who are simply scrolling to quickly view information) the scrollbar navigational buttons are not easily accessible In addition, while the user may drag the knob of the scrollbar to obtain the same effect as pressing the up/down/left/right scrollbar buttons, the user does not gain the same smooth scrolling effect and may inadvertently scroll too fast or too slow within the viewable area. Users are also forced to depress and hold the mouse button down will dragging the scrollbar knob. Mastering the scrollbar knob efficiently can be difficult for even experienced computer users and thus most people are simply forced to resort to moving the mouse cursor to either extreme ends of the scrollbar track in order to gain access to the scrollbar navigational buttons. Problems with mouse navigation becomes more obvious for inexperienced or infrequent computer users (as well as users who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome) who, without much mouse coordination, will undoubtedly resort to the onus "back-and-forth" task of constantly moving the mouse cursor up/down/left/right of the screen in order to gain access to the scrollbars navigation buttons. .

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Process to Allow Easy Navigation via Scrollbar Buttons

    Allow the knob of the scrollbar track to contain similar navigational buttons located at both ends of the scrollbar track, as shown in Figure 1. The user can now access the same functionality directly at the knob position of the scrollbar without having to move the mouse cursor to either extreme position of the scrollbar. Additional enhancements of the navigational buttons placed on the knob of the scrollbar would include the ability to simply hover the mouse cursor over the desired navigational button and the scrollbar would begin to automatically scroll; the user would not be forced to hold and depress the mouse button on the knob's navigational button. While scrolling, the mouse cursor would continue to hover over the navigational button and follow the scrolling knob until the mouse cursor has been positioned outside the hovering area of the navigational button or until the end of the scrollbar track has been reached. The middle segment of the knob would allow the user to grab and drag (i.e.position the mouse cursor over the middle segment of the knob and hold and depress the mouse button) the knob to provide the same freedom of scrollbar movement designed with current scrollbar technology.

Figure 1 - Scrollbar navigational buttons placed on knob

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Disclosed by International Business Machines Corporation

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