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Linear transcoding of a random access web form document.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000023988D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Apr-01
Document File: 7 page(s) / 84K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Currently, human interaction with web based forms-centric systems is handled in the browser using the well known HTML forms model, whereby the browser renders a page of controls for the user to fill out and submit to the server for processing. These pages are known as random access, that is to say that generally speaking the user is not bound to fill in the fields in a specific order and mechanism itself does not provide a guided path through the form filling process. This article describes a mechanism that allows random access forms documents to be delivered in a linear rendering scheme. A linear rendering scheme is one whereby the user is guided through the process (i.e. fills in the form) in a simple step by step, interactive fashion. The system prompts the user for a piece of information and then waits for the user to submit their response to the prompt. Having received the response, the system determines what should be its next prompt based on what it has gathered so far and then prompts the user for the next piece of information, and so on.

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Linear transcoding of a random access web form document .

Currently, human interaction with web based forms-centric systems is handled in the browser using the well known HTML forms model, whereby the browser renders a page of controls for the user to fill out and submit to the server for processing. These pages are known as random access, that is to say that generally speaking the user is not bound to fill in the fields in a specific order and the mechanism itself does not provide a guided path through the form filling process. There are a vast number of such pages available over the web but they have some drawbacks for certain groups of users. For non computer-literate users, large and complex forms can appear daunting and might discourage the user from using the web to complete such forms. The random access delivery mechanism does not help to provide a smooth passage through the form to simplify the task for the user. There is no consistent guided route through the form filling process. The onus is on the page designer to construct the UI with the requisite level of usability which is by no means guaranteed on the web. For non-visual devices or for restricted access devices, the random access method may be inappropriate for the delivery channel due to factors such as the screen size (where it is harder to keep track of the data input, particularly on a large form) or in the case of audio browsers the necessity for the user to create a mental of the form they are working on. In summary, the existing web delivery mechanism can, for certain groups of users, render the system unattractive or simply impractical to use and the sheer volume of such pages would render re-engineering each application practically impossible.

    A linear transcoding mechanism allows random access forms documents to be delivered in a linear rendering scheme. A linear rendering scheme is one whereby the user is guided through the form filing process in a simple step by step, interactive fashion. The system prompts the user for a piece of information and then waits for the user to submit their response to the prompt. Having received the response, the system determines what should be its next prompt based on what it has gathered so far and then prompts the user for the next piece of information, and so on until the form is complete.

    A linear transcoder takes the existing form markup (as available through standard web channels) and translate this into a series of prompts for delivery one by one to the user in an interactive system (such as SMS messages, voice activated systems or instant messaging). In this way, users who are not overly confident with computers are no longer confronted with a vast quantity of information on a form but can steadily fill in details in a controlled, simple, step by step fashion. The delivery channel in itself provides guidance through the flow of the form towards its completion. From a device perspective, the provision of user promp...