Browse Prior Art Database

Three-Dimensional Menu Icons to Aid Users in Understanding Hierarchy

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000120659D
Original Publication Date: 1991-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-02
Document File: 2 page(s) / 105K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Gould, EL: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Disclosed is a non-standard menu icon which helps the user to easily see hierarchial relations between menu items. Menus are on-screen listings of program options that allow users to select the course of action they wish to take, such as printing a report or selecting a file. The disclosed concept employs a three-dimensional (3-D) icon which can be recessed or raised as perceived by the user.

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

Three-Dimensional Menu Icons to Aid Users in Understanding Hierarchy

      Disclosed is a non-standard menu icon which helps the
user to easily see hierarchial relations between menu items. Menus
are on-screen listings of program options that allow users to select
the course of action they wish to take, such as printing a report or
selecting a file.  The disclosed concept employs a three-dimensional
(3-D) icon which can be recessed or raised as perceived by the user.

      The user can get a feel for the complexity of a menu by
glancing at the icon and side profile, without having to see all of
the selections.  Less common options can be hidden from view, but can
be accessed by raising the icon.  Certain options, which are hidden
from view, may have limited access.  Only certain users may be
privileged to raise the icon to access the deep option on the far
side.  For example, consider a menu system used to access employee
records.  Some information, such as health records, should be
restricted to users with the proper security level.  Menu items can
still be used to access such information but the 3-D icon will not
raise unless the user is either privileged, enters some kind of
password during run-time, or points at various edges of the icon in
specific order (thereby entering a "password").  Color tables, such
as a geographic color table which maps blue water colors to deep
recesses and brown/white to high areas should help users keep track
of where they are in a menu hierarchy.

      Fig. 1 shows a typical three-dimensional menu both before
(left) "item 2" has been selected and after (right). It can be seen,
by both the amount of recess and the number of vertical planes, that
"item 2" 1 has three sub-menus and "item 5" 2 has two sub-menus.
When "item 2" has been selected, it pops out 3 and lowers the hidden
two selections into view, e.g., "item 2A" and "item 2B".  Any of the
menus that are now available may be selected.  Note that some of the
other menus, e.g., "item 3" and "item 4" are partially hidden from
view.  The "item 2" sub-menus pop b...