Method & Apparatus to show Tooltips on Touch Panels *
Publication Date: 2012-Nov-29
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Touchscreens are common in devices such as game consoles, all-in-one computers, tablets, smartphones etc. Showing tooltips on touch screens are challenging since there is no pointing device to trigger display of tooltip on hover. This publication explains innovative ways to display tooltips without hover and not accidentally executing unintended actions by touching on actionable triggers like buttons.
Page 01 of 5
&& Apparatus to show Tooltips on Touch Panels
Apparatus to show Tooltips on Touch Panels **
A touchscreen is an electronic visual display that can detect the presence and location of a touch within the display area . Touchscreens are fast replacing conventional (non-touch) video display systems everywhere . These touchable panelsplay a prominent role in the design of interactive displays and digital appliances such as the personal digital assistant (PDA), satellite navigation devices , mobile phones, video games, tablets, ATMs etc..
But with the advent of touch screens , input devices like mouse and keyboard are going away . Earlier user assistance could be easily provided for user interfaces by showing small context help popups called tooltips on hover of a pointer (controlled by pointing devices like mouse, touchpad, navigation keys etc) on an actionable button/area. But with the ever increasing popularity of touchscreens , showing tooltips on hover is not possible anymore . This invention addresses this problem and describes how context sensitive tooltips can be displayed on touchscreens , without using a pointer.
Following table summaries known solutions and their drawbacks : Known Solution
Drawbacks Design UI to avoid the
need for tooltips Generally touchscreens are comparatively smaller for portability , cost reduction etc. Screen real estate is a scarce resource and there are limitations on how descriptive and self -explanatory a user interface could be . Also the targeted users for many touchscreen devices are generally very non -technical.
Additional buttons or actionable areas for triggering tooltip
Additional buttons takes up more space and increases complexity of the UI making it very confusing for end users. Actionable areas around a button also calls for more space and end user would need additional indications that there is an actionable area .
Long press (press and hold)
Long press can be used for displaying tooltip , but it calls for additional user education that such an action is possible. Also many times long press is used for other actions such as displaying context menu , switching to edit mode etc. Also there is a possibility and risk that a faulty long press could accidentally be interpreted as the press/selection and the corresponding action could be triggered . This could be quite unacceptable for
Page 02 of 5
The solution we are proposing reduces the space consumption and avoids additional training required for end users . More details in the coming section.
This proposal suggests two methods to display tooltips on a touchscreen . They are the following:
1) Proximity Sensor
The touchscreen will have a proximity sensor (heat, optical etc) which detects the presence of a nearby object like a finger or
stylus. If the user hovers his finger /stylus close enough (which can be configured, say within a defined distance like 2mm - 10mm) to the device's screen, that event can be...