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ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)


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"ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
"Zhijun (William) Zhang" <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 1 Sep 1998 09:26:08 -0500
Tom Herman <[log in to unmask]>
Tom Herman <[log in to unmask]>
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This situation is really quite easy to avoid.  The application should not
only remember that the help window already exists, but it should give it
focus when it's contents are updated.

The following function does this (it's a little different for different
browsers, I can supply code for each if you need it).  If the window
doesn't yet exist, it creates it and gives it focus, if the window already
exists, it just updates the info and focuses the window.  It can be called
w/ this HREF: <A HREF="#" onclick="Ouvrir('help/catfun.html')">

function Ouvrir(prod) {browserOK = navigator.appName;bVer =
if      (browserOK == "Netscape" && bVer >= 4) br = "n4";
else if (browserOK == "Netscape" && bVer == 3) br = "n4";
else if (browserOK == "Netscape" && bVer == 2) br = "n4";
else if (browserOK == "Microsoft Internet Explorer" && bVer >= 4) br = "e3";
else if (browserOK == "Microsoft Internet Explorer") br = "e3";
else br = "n2";

// Frame for IE 4
if (br == "n4") {"content";,"displayWindow","width=460,height=470");

// Frame for netscape.
if (br == "e3") {"content";,"displayWindow","width=460,height=470");

else {"content";,"displayWindow","width=460,height=470");

>The on-line help of the Web application opens up a new window.
>Quite a few users showed a sign of surprise when they saw a new window
>being popped up. But what happened next was quite a serious problem.
>After reading the information, instead of closing the window, some users
>minimized the new window or simply make it hidden in the back. The next
>time the user clicked on the on-line help icon, the "smart" software
>remembered that the window was still alive. So instead of opening
>another window, it simply updated the information in the window opened
>last time, which makes perfect sense from a programmer's point of view.
>But with the window hidden or minimized, there is no visible change on the
>screen. Some users did not understand what was going on.
>I do not have the application at hand to double-check this situation. But
>I think this was what happened.