Browse Prior Art Database

Smoothly Collapsing Menus

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000196672D
Published in the IP.com Journal: Volume 10 Issue 6B (2010-06-24)
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2010-Jun-24
Document File: 4 page(s) / 223K

Publishing Venue

Siemens

Related People

Juergen Carstens: CONTACT

Abstract

Menus are used in almost every application with a graphical user interface (GUI) within a computer operating system. Such menus can be context menus, as they are usually triggered by a right-mouse click on any item or a toolbar menu, which opens when a user clicks a toolbar menu item, e.g. "File", "Edit", "View" or others. Additionally so called popup menus are known, which popup upon a specific user action. Such menus however, may be nested. This means that when clicking a menu item in a menu, a sub menu may open and offer additional menu items according to the user's selection. Such nested menus have the disadvantage of confusing and irritating the user, when too many of them are shown on the screen. Usually a user is interested in the currently being navigated sub menu, the parent menus are of minor interest. On screens with low resolution, which is standard on industrial embedded PC's, lots of space is occupied when a complete menu structure with multiple nested menus is expanded (PC: Personal Computer). Additionally a problem occurs when the width of expanded sub menus may be bigger than the remaining space e.g. on the right side of the screen. In this case, the menu opens left of the parent menu causing even more irritation and confusion for the user. Similar problems occur on mobile devices where display screens in general should be used in the most effective way.

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Smoothly Collapsing Menus

Idea: Bernd Steiner, DE-Nürnberg

Menus are used in almost every application with a graphical user interface (GUI) within a computer operating system. Such menus can be context menus, as they are usually triggered by a right-mouse click on any item or a toolbar menu, which opens when a user clicks a toolbar menu item, e.g. "File", "Edit", "View" or others. Additionally so called popup menus are known, which popup upon a specific user action. Such menus however, may be nested. This means that when clicking a menu item in a menu, a sub menu may open and offer additional menu items according to the user's selection. Such nested menus have the disadvantage of confusing and irritating the user, when too many of them are shown on the screen. Usually a user is interested in the currently being navigated sub menu, the parent menus are of minor interest. On screens with low resolution, which is standard on industrial embedded PC's, lots of space is occupied when a complete menu structure with multiple nested menus is expanded (PC: Personal Computer). Additionally a problem occurs when the width of expanded sub menus may be bigger than the remaining space e.g. on the right side of the screen. In this case, the menu opens left of the parent menu causing even more irritation and confusion for the user. Similar problems occur on mobile devices where display screens in general should be used in the most effective way.

The problem can be prevented by software developers by avoiding too many nested menus. However, many software solutions are existent on the marked, which provide nested menus as described above. Users may change the screen resolution if the nested sub menus occupy too much space on the computers display. However, this is just a workaround, and can not be recognized as a viable solution.

In the following a novel form of a menu GUI is introduced which collapses parent menus in a multiple nested menu structure and thus creates more oversight for the user. The proposed smoothly collapsing menu provides the following key functionalities:

• Any kind of menu with sub-menus can be configured to automatically collapse when a sub menu of the next deeper level is o...