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Easily Selectable and Automated Field Assistance Modes within a Single User Assistance Frame

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000028722D
Original Publication Date: 2004-May-27
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-May-27
Document File: 5 page(s) / 112K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This invention is to conveniently provide various user assistance modes for the user to easily choose the appropriate mode of field-level help. The various easily-selectable modes of field-level help might include fly-over, selection, and manual modes.

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Easily Selectable and Automated Field Assistance Modes within a Single User Assistance Frame

Within web-based UIs, field-level help can be too click-intensive for users to quickly control and access. And if the user wants to get help on multiple fields, it can be tedious to get it all. Users often need to click multiple times (expanding and collapsing each field-level help) or scroll up and down to view the field help that they need. Helps also can have multiple help frames (for example, a Field Description Area for each field and a more general assistance frame for panel-level help) which use valuable screen space that would otherwise be available for the actual work area.

This invention is to conveniently provide various user assistance modes for the user to choose from for field-level assistance. The user might get an inline menu of mode choices for various levels of field-level help assistance, such as:

Fly-over mode - as the user hovers the mouse pointer over a field, help for that field would be emphasized in the help assistant Selection mode - as the user selects a field (for example, by clicking in a field), help for that field would be emphasized in the help assistant Manual mode - user needs to manually control the help assistant to find and get the help on the fields that are desired

The benefits of this invention are:

Allows users to choose a mode that suits their level of product expertise. For example, when learning a new system, the user might want fly-over mode, which makes it extremely easy to bring up all the field helps on demand. A little less distracting might be the selection mode in which a field would first need to be selected. Lastly, the most experienced users, who might need assistance less frequently, might prefer the manual mode where they need to manually select the field and also click for the help. Allows products to keep the field-level assistance in one frame, not two. This is so because it lets user easily scale between panel-level assistance and field-level assistance. In addition, this invention eliminates design co...