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A method for automatically detecting mistaken selection of one icon over another and which also prompts the user to change the icons to make it easier to discriminate between them in future.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000132522D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Dec-20
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Dec-20
Document File: 2 page(s) / 61K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

A graphical user interface (GUI) typically displays numerous icons at any one time. Coincidentally, two or more of these icons may resemble one another in size, colour and appearance. A user may therefore inadvertently select one icon in mistake for another, even though they may not be in close proximity on the display. The user then has to undo or cancel out of the unintended action and perform the intended action instead. This disclosure describes a system which automatically detects such events when they occur and which then prompts the user to change the appearance of one or both of the icons to make them easier to distinguish in future.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 51% of the total text.

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A method for automatically detecting mistaken selection of one icon over another and which also prompts the user to change the icons to make it easier to discriminate between them in future .

Disclosed is a method for automatically detecting when a user has unintentionally selected one icon over another; and which prompts the user to change the appearance of one or both icons so as to reduce the chances of similar mistakes in the future.

    Typically every application that is available on a GUI has an associated icon to represent it. Text to describe the application may appear next to the icon, but this is not always true. For example, in Microsoft* Windows** the quick-launch tray typically displays a row of icons without any accompanying text. Many applications also display toolbars comprising multiple icons unadorned with text. Two or more of these icons might be quite similar in size, shape and colour and could therefore easily be mistaken for one another by the user. Even if the icon is accompanied by some text, for example in the taskbar of Microsoft Windows, a user may not read the text before selecting the corresponding icon and so similar icons within the taskbar may also be mistaken for one another. Even when some icons have quite different colours they may still appear similar to someone with a visual impairment, such as red-green colour blindness. Finally, a user could search for alternative icons to make it easier to distinguish between them in future but he would have to do this manually. Additionally, no suitable or desirable alternative icons might be readily available.

The ideas disclosed are:

To automatically detect a likely situation when the user has unintentionally

selected the wrong icon.

When such a situation has been detected to allow the user to change one or

more properties of the icon (colour, shape, size) so as to reduce the likelihood of accidental selection in future.

    An example will now be given to illustrate these ideas. Suppose icon A is associated with task P and icon B is associated with task Q. In this context a 'task' could correspond to an entire application, for example, when launching the application from a shortcut icon or when restoring its window to the foreground view. Alternatively, a 'task' could be an action within an application or operating system, such as 'Save File' or 'Print'.

    Suppose the user clicks on icon A but then undoes or cancels out of task P and then clicks on icon B, and all within 3 seconds (or some other predefined delay). The operating system could detect this and prompt the user with a dialog which says something like: It appears you selected Task P <Icon A> in mistake for Task Q <Icon B>. Would you like to change the icon of either task so as to make it easier to distinguish between them in future?
... and the dialog would present the user with 3 options: Yes | No | No, and don't ask me again for these 2 icons

    If the user selects Yes then they could be presented with a...