Sensory Differentiation to Subtly Indicate Relative Usage Patterns
Original Publication Date: 2000-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18
Users of graphical user interfaces are accustomed to interacting with menu bars and their associated pull-downs, context menus, tool bars, etc. The common semantic concept among all these types of selection modalities is 'choice'. The user is presented with possible options from which he can select. Usually a given user elects to select certain choices more often than others. For instance, in an Edit pull-down, a user might usually select Cut or Copy, and rarely opt for 'Select All'. Yet in all software I'm familiar with, there is no differentiation in the choices presented the user (other than the common notion of 'graying out' a temporarily-unavailable choice). This can lead to mental fatigue, since every time the user goes to the same menu, he has to (usually visually) distinguish among the choices and find the desired one. The interface designer does not provide any clues to make it easy for a user to return to favorite choices. Proposed: have the application keep track of the user's choices over time, and based on that information, 'smartly' alter the sensory presentation of the selections such that frequently used options 'stand out' to the user, making it easier to re-select them later.