Technique for Specifying Minimum and Maximum Values in a Data Entry Field
Original Publication Date: 2002-Sep-15
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
Disclosed is a technique that enables users to quickly determine and set the range of acceptable values for an entry field without requiring interface annotation or help information. To quickly specify the minimum or maximum numerical value, the user can click an interface control that fills the entry field with the appropriate value depending on which part of the control was selected. When interacting with a graphical user interface, users frequently must specify data in entry fields that are limited by minimum and maximum values. If a user specifies a value in such a field that is not within the acceptable range, an error message is usually issued. To avoid this error, interface designers may choose to annotate the interface with parenthetical textual information adjacent to the entry field (for example: (seconds; default is 5) that states what the acceptable ranges are or to define the range in secondary help information. On form factors where screen real estate is limited, the second option, help information, is the preferred or only possible implementation. For example, the user needs to specify the refresh interval for updating the status information for a server. (The minimum value for this interval is 2 minutes and the maximum is 1000 minutes. The default value is 15 minutes.) Figure 1 shows the entry field with an example of the minimum and maximum control pair. The user may click on one of the control elements to choose the desired upper- or lower-limit value. Figure 1. Minimum and maximum range controls for an entry field.