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A Method to Eliminate Visual Miscues from the Display of Scroll Bars Disclosure Number: IPCOM000012368D
Original Publication Date: 2003-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-May-01
Document File: 2 page(s) / 19K

Publishing Venue



This publication presents an improvement to the current art of scroll bar technology. In current designs of 2D graphical interfaces, users have come to know that an application can contain scroll bars. These scroll bars frequently appear in multiple overlapping windows. It is very easy for the user, in trying to scroll the application in front, to click the scrollbar of one of the underlying applications instead. This has two bad side effects: 1. It brings the underlying application forward, and 2. It scrolls the underlying application. This is a common annoyance, creates a lot of screen flash, and disrupts the user's work flow, as they were expecting the original focus application to scroll. This publication presents a process for eliminating this problem. The mis-selection of scroll bars is created when the user chooses the wrong scroll bar; the mis-selection would not take place if only one set of scroll bars were visible. Yet, there is no need for scroll bars on a window without focus, except to confuse the user by presenting a selection affordance that has no utility.

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A Method to Eliminate Visual Miscues from the Display of Scroll Bars

    This publication presents, as its basic premise, the simple notion that windows without focus either will not show scroll bars, or will show scroll bars that are clearly disabled. When a window loses focus, it loses its scroll bars or the appearance of its scroll bars will change to clearly indicate the scroll bars are disabled. If only the top window has scroll bars, a user is not presented with the opportunity to mis-select. This should dramatically reduce mis-selection errors.

A second feature of this disclosure describes the behavior when a user intentionally selects an underlying window, to bring it into focus. When this occurs, and scroll bars would ordinarily be present, the scroll bars re-appear (or become enabled), while those of the window that recently lost focus disappear (or become disabled). Optionally, via a user setting, the cursor can be automatically positioned on the slider of the vertical scroll bar, or the last scroll bar used, when a window is brought into focus. This allows a user to both select an out-of-focus window and begin scrolling in a single gesture, which they can do today. Since most users click anywhere on a window to regain focus (i.e., the placement of their cursor under these circumstances is not targeted), the auto-positioning feature will likely be the preferred operation.

The advantage of this idea is that it eliminates mis-selection of scroll bars, which results in inadvertent...