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Distinguishing Available/Unavailable Menu Choices

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000108976D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-23
Document File: 2 page(s) / 175K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Henshaw, SF: AUTHOR

Abstract

Disclosed is a clear method for indicating that a given choice cannot be made at this time. A user can move the keyboard cursor to an unavailable choice, but will not be able to move selection emphasis to that choice. This will allow a user to get help on a choice, without the misleading emphasis that the choice is valid.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 76% of the total text.

Distinguishing Available/Unavailable Menu Choices

       Disclosed is a clear method for indicating that a given
choice cannot be made at this time.  A user can move the keyboard
cursor to an unavailable choice, but will not be able to move
selection emphasis to that choice.  This will allow a user to get
help on a choice, without the misleading emphasis that the choice is
valid.

      In today's environment, menus present choices that are
available, given some context, to operate on data.  In many
situations, however, the settings of some choices, or the current
state of a user's data, can cause some choices to not be valid.

      The solution is to separate selection and cursored emphasis in
menus, as it is separated elsewhere, such as on a radio button set in
OS/2*.  Selection indicates, as it does today, that the choice would
be taken if the mouse were released at this moment, or if the mouse
were to be clicked on that choice (see Fig. 1).  When a user attempts
to move, via the mouse or keyboard, to an unavailable choice, only
the cursored emphasis would be placed on that choice.  As the choice
cannot be taken, selection emphasis will be removed from the menu, to
indicate that, if the mouse is released or clicked on this choice, no
action would occur (see Fig. 2).  Given that selection is a clear and
distinctive visual indication, the lack of that indication on a
choice would remind a user of that choice's currently unavailable
state.  This would...