Context sensitive button displays
Original Publication Date: 2002-Sep-16
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
The Problem It is common in many offices to have desktop phones that have many buttons. For example, the phone on my desk has 39 buttons. Some of these buttons are quite specialised and others have no obvious purpose, although they could represent spare capacity for future use. Because the phone provides many buttons it is large, taking up valuable desk space, appears intimidating and takes a long time to learn how to use. The Solution Our proposal is to use fewer buttons but make both their function, and appearance , context sensitive. This is really an extension of the concept used in mobile phones today in which the function of the large central button immediately beneath the screen in some makes of phone is displayed on the screen itself above the button. In one context depression of the button might invoke a menu, in another context it might delete a message, and so on.