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The Acronym Helper - A model for transparently integrating the display of acronym definitions into web pages. Disclosure Number: IPCOM000032756D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Nov-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Nov-11
Document File: 2 page(s) / 31K

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One difficulty when reading technical information, as on a company internal web site, can be remembering the meaning of the multitude of acronyms included in such documents. One method of helping users is to include a list of acronyms and their definitions, perhaps at the end of the page, that users can reference. But this is time consuming and would not likely be used. A more "on demand" type of solution is needed in which the user can get an instant definition for an acronym without navigating within the current page or to another page.

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The Acronym Helper - A model for transparently integrating the display of acronym definitions into web pages.

The current invention allows web page designers to include instant user assistance for any acronym in a document in a way that does not change the visual appearance of the document at all. The "Hover Help" or "Tool Tips" web browser functionality is used to display the meaning of an acronym when a user holds the mouse cursor over it. Because the acronym would have the same visual appearance as the standard text on the page, it would not distract the user or be confused with a hyperlink. A disadvantage of this is that users might not know on which items they can get help. But the general rule on a company web site, for example, could be that instant help is available for any acronym.

This invention can easily be included in current-day web pages using standard HTML, such as a span tag.

For example, on an HTML page, the user might see a sentence as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

The HTML source of this sentence would be: <P>Did you receive those files I sent to you on
<span title="TotalStorage Productivity Center">TPC</span>?</P>

And the instant user assistance, "TotalStorage Productivity Center", would appear when the user held the mouse over the acronym "TPC", as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2.

The above example illustrates a simplistic implementation of this idea. Ideally, a company would wish to maintain a single list of acronyms, and make all web pages call...