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Browse Prior Art Database

Validation Field Control for Handling Error Messages

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000119101D
Original Publication Date: 1997-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-01
Document File: 2 page(s) / 84K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Lefave, KA: AUTHOR

Abstract

Disclosed is an unobtrusive method of handling error conditions which do not require immediate and expedient user attention. The offending entry field morphs into a yellow (highlighted) button containing one graphic, some instruction text, and one hot spot.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 53% of the total text.

Validation Field Control for Handling Error Messages

      Disclosed is an unobtrusive method of handling error conditions
which do not require immediate and expedient user attention.  The
offending entry field morphs into a yellow (highlighted) button
containing one graphic, some instruction text, and one hot spot.

The Look

      The validation button appears in the exact spot the entry field
was.  The effect is like pasting a button on top of the entry field,
thus obscuring it.
  o  The graphic
     The graphic is on the left, inside the button and is a red X
      (a visual clue that the field is wrong).
  o  The button text
     The text is centered in the button and contains the following:
     -  For mandatory fields left blank, the text reads "Please
         enter a valid __________ here" (or a similar phrase).
     -  For fields with erroneous values, the text is the actual
         erroneous value the user entered in the field (e.g., the
         user enters "joe" for his internet address, then the
         button text is "joe").  The reason for this is that often
         just looking at the entry is enough for users to realize
         their mistake without further explanation (the "doh!"
         effect).  In the above case, Joe just forgot to enter his
         location.  The correct address looks like joe@vnet.ibm.com.
  o  The hot spot
     The hot spot is on the right, inside the button, and contains
      the familiar question mark graphic representing that help is
      available.

The Feel

      The user can leave the field in its "button" state as long as
he/she wishes.  Of course, the application will decide not to allow
the user to progress to the next screen until the error is handled,
but the  difference here is that the user is in control.  No annoying
pop-up message has obscured part of the screen on top of a field
he/she may currently be working on.

When the user is ready to handle the error condition, there are two
options:
  1.  Click on the hot spot on the button to get the familiar
       message box, providing useful details on the error
       (for the internet address example, the message reads
       "A valid address looks like user@vnet.ibm.com").  When
       the user clicks on the hot spot, two things happen.  First,
       the error message box appears directly below the invalid
       field; it does not need an "ok" button (that takes up room),
       since the...