Browse Prior Art Database

Visual Indication of System-versus-Application 'Busy' Modality

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000123803D
Original Publication Date: 1999-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-05
Document File: 1 page(s) / 57K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Haynes, TR: AUTHOR

Abstract

In a graphical user interface operating system environment such as Microsoft Windows, running applications sometimes are in a state where the user must wait for some operation to complete. In other words, the application is not in a state where it can accept user commands, but rather the user must wait (real-time delay) for some (usually CPU-intensive) activity to complete. Typically in such a case the application changes the pointing device (usually, a mouse) cursor to some sort of common indicator of "busy" such as an hourglass graphic.

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Visual Indication of System-versus-Application 'Busy' Modality

   In a graphical user interface operating system environment
such as Microsoft Windows, running applications sometimes are in a
state where the user must wait for some operation to complete.  In
other words, the application is not in a state where it can accept
user commands, but rather the user must wait (real-time delay) for
some (usually CPU-intensive) activity to complete.  Typically in such
a case the application changes the pointing device (usually, a mouse)
cursor to some sort of common indicator of "busy" such as an
hourglass graphic.

   The modality thus indicated is of one of the following two
types:
  1) SYSTEM MODAL: the user cannot interact with ANY application
     running on the computer until the hourglass goes away
  2) APPLICATION MODAL: the user can interact with any other
     application on the computer EXCEPT the one that caused
     the pointer cursor to change to the hourglass.

   The problem: the same visual indication is displayed
regardless of the type of modality.  So the user, looking at the
hourglass icon, has no idea if the modality is systemic or
application.  If he wants to move to a different application, he must
physically move the mouse (for instance) and see if the hourglass
indicator goes away once it is no longer hovering over the busy
application.

   SOLUTION: Proposed: two different hourglass graphics, one for
each type of modality.

   Since mo...