Browse Prior Art Database

Drag and Drop Action Tip

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000118119D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-01
Document File: 4 page(s) / 233K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Brooks, AP: AUTHOR

Abstract

One of the primary operational mechanisms in Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) is Drag and Drop. But what action is to be taken for a drag and drop operation can be quite contextual and possibly conditional as well. And as systems become more complex, there may be instances where it is not obvious what action will occur. Often this is the case when objects are more abstract, complex, and/or less familiar to the user. This may allow a very powerful interface, but it also becomes very important to provide feedback to reinforce the action undertaken. One solution is to augment the operation with a small text string in a highlighted background, a Drag and Drop Action Tip that appears when you drag one object over another and then pause.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Drag and Drop Action Tip

      One of the primary operational mechanisms in Graphical User
Interfaces (GUIs) is Drag and Drop.  But what action is to be taken
for a drag and drop operation can be quite contextual and possibly
conditional as well.  And as systems become more complex, there may
be instances where it is not obvious what action will occur.  Often
this is the case when objects are more abstract, complex, and/or less
familiar to the user.  This may allow a very powerful interface, but
it also becomes very important to provide feedback to reinforce the
action undertaken.  One solution is to augment the operation with a
small text string in a highlighted background, a Drag and Drop Action
Tip that appears when you drag one object over another and then
pause.  The Action Tip names the action that will occur if you drop
the source object on that target.

      One of the primary operational mechanisms in GUIs is Drag and
Drop, where the user can depress a mouse button while the pointer is
positioned over one object, and (while keeping the button depressed)
move the pointer over another object, at which time the button is
released.  Usually (a shadow of) the original icon moves along with
the pointer in order to reinforce the notion of Drag and Drop.  The
intention in this mechanism is to cause an action to occur which
involves the two objects identified in the drag and drop.  An example
of such an action is to move the first object into the second one, as
in moving a document into a folder (Fig. 1).

      One hopes that the intent of every drag and drop operation is
intuitive to the user, so that no confusion is present as to what
action is to be taken as a result.  And often the result of the
action is apparent from feedback to reinforce that the user did
accomplish the correct action (such as the document disappearing from
its original position and then appearing in the folder).

      The action taken as a result of a drag and drop is highly
contextual.  To cite simple examples, if you drag a document to a
folder, the document is moved there.  But if you drag it to a
diskette or another portable medium, to a printer, to a fax, or to a
trash can, it is  copied, printed, faxed, or deleted respectively
instead.  While in these  cases it is basically intuitive what should
happen, it is also clear that  it is a different action that is
implied by the same user operation of  dragging the initial object.
What happens depends upon onto which object  you drop it (Fig. 2).

      However, as systems become more and more complex, there
are many other instances where it is not obvious what action will
occur.  Often this is the case when objects are more abstract, more
complex, or less familiar to the user.

      What should happen if an administrator were to drag an e...