Browse Prior Art Database

Feedback of Input Device Options in Modal Situations

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000105564D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-20
Document File: 2 page(s) / 52K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Fitzpatrick, GP: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Users of computers are accustomed to communicating with the computer via a variety of input devices. Sometimes the user's input options are limited because the computer is in a certain mode where it will only accept certain input options. The user cannot ascertain from viewing the input device which options are valid and which are not.

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Feedback of Input Device Options in Modal Situations

      Users of computers are accustomed to communicating with the
computer via a variety of input devices.  Sometimes the user's input
options are limited because the computer is in a certain mode where
it will only accept certain input options.  The user cannot ascertain
from viewing the input device which options are valid and which are
not.

      A good example of this sort of problem is modal dialog boxes in
graphical user interfaces (GUIs).  When a system modal dialog box is
presented to the user, the user typically has only two input options:
'OK' and 'Cancel'.  These two actions typically correspond to the
keyboard keys 'Enter' and 'Esc', respectively.

      This article describes input modality feedback to the user by
marking appropriate input device options as available or unavailable.
The software process that provides user feedback to a screen alone
(in a conventional system) may now also send signals to
appropriately-equipped input devices.  For instance, in the case of
the system dialog box presented above, the keyboard itself would show
only the 'Enter' and 'Esc' keys with available emphasis, while the
other keys would be given unavailable emphasis.  Such emphasis could
be, in the case of the keyboard, a brightening of the keys for
appropriate, and a dimming for inappropriate, although other feedback
methods are possible (e.g., color distinction, such as red/green).
Further, the approach...