Browse Prior Art Database

Mouse Button Methodology

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000039831D
Original Publication Date: 1987-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-01
Document File: 3 page(s) / 15K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Hearin, KK: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

A consistent button methodology throughout a prompted environment is described which provides a consistent method of performing screen activities, such as moving data on the screen, copying data to another location on the screen, deleting or coloring blocks of data and drawing lines or boxes on the screen. In a prompted mode environment, where the software product attempts to lead the user through a task, the system makes use of windows for task choices as well as providing information to the user. When the software product also wants to make use of a mouse to provide ease of use, the number of keys to interact with the system is limited, thus the need for a button methodology for the mouse and a correlated methodology for the keyboard.

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Mouse Button Methodology

A consistent button methodology throughout a prompted environment is described which provides a consistent method of performing screen activities, such as moving data on the screen, copying data to another location on the screen, deleting or coloring blocks of data and drawing lines or boxes on the screen. In a prompted mode environment, where the software product attempts to lead the user through a task, the system makes use of windows for task choices as well as providing information to the user. When the software product also wants to make use of a mouse to provide ease of use, the number of keys to interact with the system is limited, thus the need for a button methodology for the mouse and a correlated methodology for the keyboard. A two-button mouse provides three possible functions if the software recognizes button 1, button 2 and buttons 1 and 2 pressed together. A three-button mouse also provides three possible functions, using each button for a function. However, only three functions available to the software developer limits the flexibility that is needed to create a usable software product, since most of the time, button 3 is used by the resident window manager, thus leaving only two functions. Also, if a mouse is used, the user must be able to perceive the relationship between the action of mouse buttons and the actions on the keyboard, so that the performance of the software product is intuitively obvious. In accordance with the new methodology, the user is first taught to perceive the difference of a panel and a window. A panel is a full screen presentation of data that represents the overall task that is currently being performed. A window overlays a panel and does not cover the panel completely. A window provides the user with choices within the task and information regarding the task. Once the user understands the concept of panels and windows, the buttons on a mouse can be defined to perform differently depending on where the mouse cursor resides.

If the mouse cursor is in a panel, the mouse buttons provide one set of functions. If the mouse cursor is in a window, the mouse buttons provide another set of functions. For consistency sake and because the resident window manager has no understanding of the software that is running, button 3 on the mouse is always under the control of the window manager. This button will not be discussed further. Button 1 on a panel marks a point on a panel. Marking a point on a panel causes a window to appear. Button 2 on a panel provides a signal to the software product to cause a function key window to appear or to transfer control to the function key window that is currently on the screen. The function of button 1 when the mouse cursor is in a window allows the selection of an item in that window. If only one selection is required by the system, the window is removed once the item is chosen. If the system knows that more than one selection can be made fro...