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Visual Clues for the Content and Target Window of a Hyperlink

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000124892D
Original Publication Date: 2005-May-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-May-11
Document File: 2 page(s) / 44K

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A program is disclosed that provides the user with visual indicators about the target window, content, and security level of a hyperlink. Users do not typically know how a hyperlink will be processed until they click on it. In a typical embodiment of this invention, a web browser would change the cursor icon when hovering over a URL hyperlink to reflect whether the browser would open a new window for the link, which application would process the link, and whether the hyperlink would use a secure HTTPS session.

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Visual Clues for the Content and Target Window of a Hyperlink

The invention is to have a hyperlinked document browser (typically a web browser) provide the user with three informative visual clues about a hyperlink when the cursor hovers over the hyperlink. The first visual clue indicates whether the linked content will be loaded in a new window, the same window, or a specifically named window. The second visual clue is to indicate the type of content and what application will be used to process the content. The third visual clue indicates whether a secure session will be used to transfer the content. A good embodiment would be to change the cursor icon to provide these three visual clues. The Figure below shows a sample embodiment. Alternative embodiments could include using a tooltip or changing the appearance of the hyperlink.

For the first visual clue, for normal hyperlinks that open in the same browser window, the cursor would remain a pointing hand. If the link would launch a new window or create a new window tab, the cursor might change into a hand with a rectangle. If the link would load content into a named window that has already been launched, the hand would have a rectangle, and the browser could visually identify the title bar of the target window (using flashing, for example).

The second visual clue depends on the MIME-type of the linked document. The browser would make an educated guess about the MIME-type based on the file extension in the hyperlink. While not guaranteed to be 100% accurate, this educated guess would still be right often enough to be useful for a usability feature. The browser would then look u...