Browse Prior Art Database

Feedback of Modality in Graphical User Interfaces

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000110879D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-26
Document File: 2 page(s) / 45K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Fitzpatrick, GP: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Users of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) are accustomed to facing situations where the system requires the user to complete a specific thread of human-computer interaction dialogue before being able to focus attention on other tasks. Such situations are termed 'modal'. The user typically receives some feedback when these situations arise, but it is usually poor and incomplete.

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Feedback of Modality in Graphical User Interfaces

      Users of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) are accustomed to
facing situations where the system requires the user to complete a
specific thread of human-computer interaction dialogue before being
able to focus attention on other tasks.  Such situations are termed
'modal'.  The user typically receives some feedback when these
situations arise, but it is usually poor and incomplete.

      A good example of this sort of problem is modal dialog boxes in
GUIs.  When a system modal dialog box is presented to the user, the
user must close that dialog before he can interact with any other
window or icon.  Some GUIs try to provide feedback by allowing the
programmer to differentiate dialog boxes as either modal or
non-modal.  Modal dialog boxes are given a thicker window border.
However, the difference in thickness is often difficult to perceive.
Further, the modality feedback does not differnentiate between:

o   System modality (The user cannot interact with any other aspect
    of the system.)

o   Application modality (Restricts interaction with other aspects of
    the associated application, but allows the user to interact with
    other aspects of the system.)

      This invention makes use of the native color capabilities of
state-of-the-art graphical monitors.  Provided is 'light/dark'
feedback of modality.  Any aspect of the system with which the user
cannot work for whatever reason is d...