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Method and System for Displaying an Enhanced Help User Interface

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000225873D
Publication Date: 2013-Mar-10
Document File: 5 page(s) / 96K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A method and system for displaying both conceptual and procedural information only on user demand using interactive diagrams is disclosed. The interactive diagrams provide an overview of the product by showing objects and steps impacted by each of the objects. The user can hover or click on an object to obtain more information relating to the object.

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Method and System for Displaying an Enhanced Help User Interface

Software products and solutions are becoming more and more complex. As a

consequence, more users are becoming unfamiliar with the key concepts and procedures for performing key tasks. The users utilize text based help systems to perform key tasks in a software product. The text based help systems require the users to do a lot of reading. However, some users may dislike reading lot of text unless and until the users are compelled to read the text to overcome certain problems. Further, the users tend to utilize help systems that include conceptual or procedural diagrams.

Although the diagrams provide a general idea and overview quickly and easily, but at

the same time it can lead to misinterpretation due to lack of information displayed in the diagrams. Inserting too much information in the diagrams on the other hand leads to cluttering of the diagrams and thereby making it difficult to interpret for the users. Moreover, the existing help systems are loosely integrated with the software product and thus the user has to switch between the help system and product user interface.

Disclosed is a method and system for enhancing the utility of one or more help systems by displaying both conceptual and procedural information only on user demand using interactive diagrams. When a user hovers a mouse cursor over a first active object of an interactive diagram, the method and system displays more information related to the first active object of the interactive diagram. The information displayed related to the first active object is visible until the user hovers over a second active object or until the user clicks anywhere in a whitespace of the interactive diagram.

In an embodiment, the interactive diagrams may be integrated with traditional help systems. In a scenario, the user may click within the interactive diagram to navigate to related topics within the traditional help system. Further in an embodiment, the interactive diagrams may be integrated within the software product. Thus the conceptual and procedural information is directly embedded into the product. The integration of interactive diagrams with product functions provides a more tightly coupled help system with the software product user interface. In a scenario, instead of or in addition to clicking on objects in the interactive diagrams, the user can click to invoke product functions.

In one embodiment, the method and system provides a pictorial representation of the objects and tools the user works with and lays out a model that leads the user through a step by step procedure. In a scenario, when the user clicks on a first step, the method and system reveals dialogs or wizards to collect information from the user. As the step

is completed, it is checked off, or grayed out or otherwise marked as completed thereby reflecting system status. In an embodiment, objects change locations, grow or shrink, change color, o...