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Pull Down Menu that Stays Open

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000108671D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-22
Document File: 1 page(s) / 46K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Najjar, LJ: AUTHOR

Abstract

To invoke an item on a pull-down menu, users of windowed user interfaces, such as IBM's Presentation Manager*, have two methods to choose: (1) users can select the action on the action bar, then the item on the pull-down menu that appears, or (2) users can memorize the keyboard accelerator (for example, Alt-Z) for that pull-down menu item. Since it is very concrete, simple, and does not require memorization, most non-expert computer users prefer the first method, using pull-down menus. However, when a user frequently accesses a specific item in a pull-down menu, the pull-down menu method can become time-consuming and annoying. This occurs, for example, when the user repeatedly invokes the "Create new paragraph" action while using a word processor.

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Pull Down Menu that Stays Open

       To invoke an item on a pull-down menu, users of windowed
user interfaces, such as IBM's Presentation Manager*, have two
methods to choose:  (1) users can select the action on the action
bar, then the item on the pull-down menu that appears, or (2) users
can memorize the keyboard accelerator (for example, Alt-Z) for that
pull-down menu item.  Since it is very concrete, simple, and does not
require memorization, most non-expert computer users prefer the first
method, using pull-down menus.  However, when a user frequently
accesses a specific item in a pull-down menu, the pull-down menu
method can become time-consuming and annoying.  This occurs, for
example, when the user repeatedly invokes the "Create new paragraph"
action while using a word processor.

      To allow users to utilize the pull-down menu method more
efficiently, this article describes a simple, concrete user interface
design technique to keep a pull-down menu open.  To use this
technique, the last item in each pull-down menu is "Keep pull-down
menu open."  This item is separated from the other items in the
pull-down menu with a separator line.  When the user selects this
item, the pull-down menu stays open, the user can repeatedly select
any item in the pull-down menu, and the last item in the pull-down
menu changes to "Close pull-down menu."  When the user selects an
action bar item that causes another pull-down menu to appear
temporarily, the temporary...