Composite User Interaction Auto-completion Based on Partial Input
Original Publication Date: 2004-Nov-19
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Nov-19
Disclosed is a method for providing autocomplete function for complex user input based on what the user has provided as partial input thus far. This method performs a fuzzy match lookup against current cached user input data to suggest values for as many remaining fields in the UI as possible.
Composite User Interaction Auto -completion Based on Partial Input
Software users are often presented with UI which requires a substantial amount of discrete input elements (a composite user interface). An example of this would be a lengthy web based form. Users generally find it tedious to enter large amounts of required data in interfaces such as these. These users also don't enjoy having to repeat entering this information in the same or slightly different environments. Another example of an application environment with numerous discrete inputs would be a legacy text interface (or greenscreen) application.
Today, there is a usability feature available in a variety of software applications which is called 'auto-completion'. For example, the IE and Mozilla browsers both contain an auto-completion function which will cache a user's form field data in the browser. When the user comes back to a form with a similarly named field and begins typing, a dropdown list of various possible completions of that field data appear. The user can then select one of those completions from the dropdown, and the content will be entered in the field.
The disadvantage of field based auto-completion is that the user must begin entering data in each field to yield the possible content completions. As the number of fields scales, the process of changing focus, typing, and selecting a completion can become tedious itself.
We disclose a method of facilitating rapid entry of cached user-entered data into a composite user interface by caching associations between field data along with the field data, Basically, we can have the application client remember that a set of fields occurred together in the same user interface. Upon the user entering data into any input element in that composite UI, we can determine which field sets match the given partial content, be they the exact same set of input elements, a subset, or superset. We provide an additional hook into the existing auto-complete visual feedback which allows the user to select a matching field set. Upon selecting a matching field set, all fields from that set represented in the current UI are filled in with cached data.
This solution is an extension of the previous auto-complete state of the art, and can be used in conjunction with that mode of operation at the user's discretion. This invention reduces the amount of time to fill out a complex composite UI if a similar association of input elements has been seen and processed before by that user. Because the data is cached on the client's computer, security is covered by the client computer's authentication mechanisms. Also, because the data is cached on the client, it can be easily viewed, manipulated, or removed by the client user. The ability to m...