Method for enabling hover help and right button clicks using a touch screen
Original Publication Date: 2001-Nov-16
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Disclosed is a software only method for enabling hover help and right button clicks when using a touch screen input device. Typically, a touch screen input device is most often used as a mechanism for pressing an on-screen button without having to use an intermediate device such as a computer mouse. It is easier for the user to directly activate an on-screen button by pressing the screen rather than positioning a cursor and clicking using some device whose operation is not as intuitive. A user may also use a touch screen to drag an on-screen object to different locations. Some devices provide touch screen input as the only input mechanism since there may be no room in the device for other mechanisms such as mice, trackballs, or trackpads. Although, touch screen input has many benefits there are also some disadvantages. There is no way to select (focus) an object since the act of touching the screen over the object is the equivalent of button 1 (left) clicking the object. This prevents hover (balloon) help from working. There is no way to button 2 (right) click an object since every touch is considered the same. This prevents the user from bringing up context menus. As device capabilities grow, the desire for these common selection options also grow. A possible solution to this problem might be to interpret different screen pressures as different user input requests. However, this has a variety of problems. Not all touch screen devices can detect pressure differences. Pressure accuracy might be difficult for the user to achieve. Pressures differ depending on whether the user is using a stylus, finger, or other objects. Another alternative is to use some hardware modifier button so that touches can be interpreted as right clicks. This requires specialized hardware and still does not support hover help.