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Technique For Choosing Items From Multiple Catagories Where Some Combinations Are Valid and Some Are Not Disclosure Number: IPCOM000022698D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Mar-25
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Mar-25
Document File: 2 page(s) / 41K

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How to control radio buttons so the user may select a number of items from different catagories where only some of the combinations are valid.

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Technique For Choosing Items From Multiple Catagories Where Some Combinations Are Valid and Some Are Not

A method of controlling radio buttons is disclosed that immediately informs the user which combinations are valid and which are not. Normally a radio button item has only two states, selected and not selected. This invention adds a second attribute to describe the item's status as a contributor to a valid combination of items. This attribute may be indicated by color. Green, for instance, means the item in combination with those already selected participates in at least one valid combination. The converse, red for instance, means no valid combination consists of this item plus those already selected.

For example, suppose a popup of radio buttons supports a user's task of choosing an automobile to purchase. Suppose his choices are a color of pink, blue, and black; a style of 2-door or 4-door; and a body type of convertible, hatch-back, or sedan. Now, when should the user learn that the combinations pink sedan and 4-door convertible are invalid?

Normally every buyer who comes to these choices must be told of these exceptions up front so he will not make a mistake in his selections. Or, the user may see a tree structured menu or popups that cascade. After each selection, the remaining valid options are shown at the next descending level. But the user has no way of knowing what other options are available without starting over on a new path and remembering options in the previous paths.

With this invention the car buyer sees all possible, individual choices all the time. Initially all items are green, meaning each contributes to at least one valid combination. If the user chooses "blue", the "pink" and "black" items turn red because these cars cannot have multiple colors. All other choices remain green. Next, if "4-door" is chosen, "2-door" turns red, but also "convertible" turns red because the combination blue 4-door convertible is inva...