Method of expanding stacked elements
The present invention provides solutions to the potential undesirable effects the insertion and removal of information elements and documents may have on axes of elements using a collation function and collation units and further allows for displaying the elements with a first layout until the number of elements to be displayed in the collation unit exceeds a maximum number of elements displayable with the first layout, the elements displayed in the collation unit being displayed with a second layout when the number of elements to be displayed in the collation unit exceeds the number of elements displayable with the first layout. The invention can be effectuated as a method, a device and an apparatus carrying out the method described herein.
- 1-20. -20. (canceled)
- 21. A computer-implemented method of displaying a plurality of elements on an axis of elements on a display area of a user'"'"'s device, the method comprising:
assigning a collation function to the axis of elements, the collation function including a time-based order; receiving a plurality of elements from another user, the plurality of elements being transmitted through a network, the elements including a timestamp respectively associated thereto; associating the plurality of elements with respective collation positions on the axis of elements; displaying the plurality of elements in a substantially rectilinear and vertical orientation on the display in a stacked configuration of elements on the axis of elements; and displaying a notification in association with the plurality of elements including an identity of the another user providing the plurality of elements, wherein the plurality of stacked elements is unstacked and elements are distinctly displayed on the axis on a basis of an action performed by the user on the display area.
- View Dependent Claims (22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40)
The present invention relates to, claims priority from and is a continuing application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/626,692, filed Sep. 25, 2012, entitled METHOD OF INSERTING AND REMOVING INFORMATION ELEMENTS IN ORDERED INFORMATION ELEMENT ARRAYS, which claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/538,879, filed Sep. 25, 2011, entitled METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR DISPLAYING INFORMATION ELEMENT AXES, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
This invention relates generally to computer systems adapted to insert information elements in information element axes. The present invention more specifically relates to methods and apparatuses for reducing and preventing confusion when information elements are inserted in displayed array of information elements.
Axes of documents present documents thereon in a predetermined fashion. They are displayed on the axis in a collated manner; that is, they are sorted on an axis in a specific order, often chronological. Moreover, documents displayed on these axes share one or more attributes. The attribute is a certain descriptive element ascribed to a document by a user.
A document can have one or more attributes. For example, one'"'"'s picture taken on a vacation trip to Mexico can have the following attributes: “Mexico 2012 trip,” “Mary and the dog on the beach,” and “June 2012 cocktail party.” The picture, therefore, was taken during someone'"'"'s trip to Mexico, which took place sometimes in June of 2012. Moreover, this picture is one where Mary, the protagonist of the picture, is with her dog on the beach.
The number of documents displayed on an axis varies. The length of the axes upon which these documents are displayed fluctuates as well in dependence of the number of documents they contain. Given their nature and purpose to graphically display the documents of which they are composed, axes'"'"' actual lengths differ in dependence of the number of documents they have. Some axes might have as little as one document, while others might contain more.
Axes are visible on a display area, for example, a computer screen. The display area can reveal more than one axis at a time. Some axis, with a small number of documents, can be fully displayed on the display area, as their lengths are relatively short and can easily fit within the frame of the display area. Others, however, which have a relatively high number of documents, cannot be fully shown on the display area and, therefore, are partially visible on a display area. The viewer, consequently, can access the non-displayed documents of the axes by scrolling to the right or to the left of the display area in dependence of the location of the document(s) searched.
Changes made to documents in an axis can drastically change the location of the documents on the respective axis. For example, if a certain axis contains “10” documents, and if “20” more of such similar documents are added to the respective axis within a small time frame (a few seconds), the initial “10” documents which were present on the axis can either be dislocated to the right or the left sides of the axis so that the other “20” documents can now be aligned on the axis. The axis becomes larger as a result of this very addition of documents.
Similarly, documents can also be removed from a certain axis. If the initial number of documents on an axis were “30” and if “20” documents were simultaneously removed from the axis, the remaining “10” documents would be subject to an automatic movement towards the center of the axis.
Documents are added on an axis when they receive one attribute that defines the rest of the documents on that respective axis. Documents are removed or, consequently, deleted from an axis when they are no longer defined by the attribute that once linked them to that respective axis.
The addition and the removal of documents on an axis are less significant to the viewer when the specific axis is not visible on the display area. Stating differently, if someone were to look at an axis containing five documents sharing the common attribute “higher education in Canada” (the five documents being all displayed on the display area), s/he would not notice any changes on the visual display if “20” other documents were simultaneously being added to two other axes nonvisible on the display area. This scenario, however, would not apply if the same “20” documents were being added to the axis with the five documents on “higher education in Canada”. The viewer would notice the graphical enlargement of the axis displayed on the screen as a result of this addition. Moreover, the initial five documents on the axis would be consequently displaced either to the right or left of the axis to provide the necessary space for the new documents'"'"' addition.
Changes in the number of documents present on an axis are, therefore, more significant to the viewer when the axis is visible on the display area. By significant, one refers to the effects these changes can have on the viewer(s). Document displacements on the display area can lead to various undesirable consequences to the viewer, such as loss of focus on a document(s); occurrence of at least one unintended error in the viewing, modification and/or management of a document(s); possible disorientation, perplexity and/or puzzlement of the viewer caused by the change in the layout of document(s); and unforeseen and unintended dissatisfaction and frustration of the viewer. These are mere examples, and do not embody the total number of possible outcomes that might arise as a result of document displacements and/or axes dislocations on the display area.
Documents'"'"' dislocations on axes may cause the axes to displace. Stated differently, axes to which documents were inserted and/or removed may move themselves to the right or to the left of the display area in order to adjust to the updated number of documents they contain. This phenomenon, also, can cause unwanted consequences on the viewer, some of which were listed above.
A user can manage one'"'"'s own documents. In other words, one can add and/or remove documents from an axis. This axis may or not be visible on the display area. Its visibility on the display area is caused by the user'"'"'s exploration of one or more of its documents on the display area.
Moreover, a user can manage attributes associated with these respective documents. When the managing of attributes by the user does occur, significant changes in the way documents are sorted, and, therefore, listed on an axis can occur. Documents on an axis may be dislocated to the right or to the left of the axis.
Needless to say, there is a positive correlation between the number of documents added and/or removed on a certain axis and the potential undesirable impact these changes have on the user. The greater is the number of documents that are added or removed from an axis, the greater is the impact on the layout and the graphical display of the documents on this axis.
More than one user can manage and share documents on a specific axis at a given time. By “sharing,” on refers to the act of holding the right to assign and/or remove attributes to documents. For example, a first user can manage one'"'"'s attributes. However, the association and/or disassociation of attributes will affect another user. Needless to explain, the impact of these changes can be significant, especially when the other user views on the display area an axis or several axes presenting documents associated with the attributes subjected to simultaneous changes by another user.
Documents can modify their location on the axes in a precipitous manner and without prior warning. This increases the likelihood of confusion and frustration caused to the viewer of these axes, both most likely arising from the potential unintended error(s) one can commit as a result of these sudden changes on the axes.
It is therefore highly desirable to have a mechanism preventing or reducing confusion and frustration caused by the addition and/or removal of documents from displayed axes.
It is also desirable to orderly present the changes on the axes visible on the display area, in order to help the viewer understand the changes that are taken place.
It is yet desirable to display warnings of the changes that are occurring on the axes as a result of the addition and/or removal of the documents and to offer the viewer of the display area choices of actions matching one'"'"'s needs.
It is desirable, also, to inform the viewer of the number and identity of the user(s) who have added and/or removed documents on the displayed axes.
Moreover, it is also necessary to have a system that would analyze and assess the viewer'"'"'s behavior in respect to the display area in order to decide the best action(s) to be undertaken in terms of the location where a document or documents may be best added and/or removed on axis shown on the display area so that its/their insertion and/or removal would cause little or no undesirable effects on the viewer.
It is equally desirable to offer the viewer the proper means to control and manage the number of, and time when, at least modifications to documents viewable in the display area can take place.
Other deficiencies will become apparent to one skilled in the art to which the invention pertains in view of the following summary and detailed description with its appended figures.
One aspect of the present invention aims to alleviate one or more of the shortcomings of the background art by addressing one or more of the existing needs in the art.
The following presents a simplified summary of the invention in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the invention. This summary is not an extensive overview of the invention. It is not intended to identify key/critical elements of the invention or to delineate the scope of the invention. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts of the invention in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.
The invention is generally described as a method, a system, a device and/or a graphical user interface used to represent multiple computer files, documents, or other data on axes in an axis-based graphical user interface (GUI).
Aspects of our work provide a method and system preventing and reducing viewer'"'"'s confusion and potential errors the viewer might commit when documents are added or removed from displayed axes. The system allows the viewer to efficiently navigate the documents on axes present on the display area, or a portion thereof, when additional documents are being added and/or removed on the displayed axes simultaneously and/or at later time. This is made possible by the indications provided by the system concerning these modifications and by the means to manage these modifications accordingly, in accordance with at least one embodiment.
One aspect of the instant invention provides a method, an apparatus and a graphical user interface adapted to present arrays of documents as a single axis, row, or column or a plurality thereof, and in which the distribution of documents is graphically affected by the addition and/or the removal of other documents therefrom. The respective method, apparatus and graphical user interface allow for a smooth transition from the original graphical layout of documents to the final one, caused by the addition and/or removal of documents therefrom, in accordance with at least one embodiment.
Another aspect of the invention provides a method and a system intended for the user to be warned and, consequently, offered choices of action in light of the addition and/or removal of documents on the displayed axes, in accordance with at least one embodiment.
Another aspect of the invention offers a method and a system where the displayed longitudinal side of the axis wider to the pointing device remains motionless on the screen and the opposite longitudinal side of the axis adjusts to make room for the new documents to be displayed or removed from an axis, in accordance with at least one embodiment.
Another aspect of the invention presents a method, a system and a graphical user interface where the displayed longitudinal side of the axis in respect with the insertion location remains fixed on the screen while its opposite side adjusts to make room for new documents to be displayed and/or removed on the axis, in accordance with at least one embodiment.
The present invention provides a mechanism adapted to prevent a viewer of displayed documents from being confused by the modifications caused to the documents by another user. Given that these modifications are not performed by the viewer, the latter may find them confusing, especially when documents'"'"' presence (and lack thereof) and location on a specific axis are being subject to constant and impromptu changes, in accordance with at least one embodiment.
In one aspect of the invention, the user can decide a fixed and/or maximum space one would allow for supplementary documents to be added and/or removed from a specific axis shown on the display area, in accordance with at least one embodiment.
A further aspect of the instant invention provides a functionality adapted to move and or/remove documents shared by another user immediately and/or after a predetermined delay, in accordance with at least one embodiment.
Another aspect of the present invention provides a functionality adapted to display the added and/or removed documents in an expanded or contracted manner, and/or or within a fixed set space, dictated or not by the viewer, in accordance with at least one embodiment.
In one other aspect of the instant invention, a mechanism is provided to identify the documents that have been added and/or removed from a specific axis as a result of the actions of another user(s), in accordance with at least one embodiment.
One aspect of the invention provides a method of managing elements in a collation unit of an axis of elements, the method comprising displaying a plurality of elements along the axis of elements, the elements being displayed in a substantially rectilinear arrangement on a display on a basis of a collation function, the elements being displayed in collation units along the axis of elements, each collation unit including a receiving space thereof along a longitudinal length of the axis of elements, the elements displayed in a collation unit being displayed with a first layout until the number of elements to be displayed in the collation unit exceeds a maximum number of elements displayable with the first layout, the elements displayed in the collation unit being displayed with a second layout when the number of elements to be displayed in the collation unit exceeds the number of elements displayable with the first layout.
One other aspect of the invention provides a non-transitory computer-readable medium having stored thereon computer-readable instructions that, when executed by a computer, cause the computer to perform operations for managing elements in a collation unit of an axis of elements, the operations comprising: displaying a plurality of elements along the axis of elements, the elements being displayed in a substantially rectilinear arrangement on a display on a basis of a collation function, the elements being displayed in collation units along the axis of elements, each collation unit including a receiving space thereof along a longitudinal length of the axis of elements, the elements displayed in a collation unit being displayed with a first layout until the number of elements to be displayed in the collation unit exceeds a maximum number of elements displayable with the first layout, the elements displayed in the collation unit being displayed with a second layout when the number of elements to be displayed in the collation unit exceeds the number of elements displayable with the first layout.
An aspect of the present invention provides a device, comprising a processor configured to present a graphical user interface for displaying and managing elements in a collation unit of an axis of elements, the graphical interface comprising areas adapted to provides the operations comprising: displaying a plurality of elements along the axis of elements, the elements being displayed in a substantially rectilinear arrangement on a display on a basis of a collation function, the elements being displayed in collation units along the axis of elements, each collation unit including a receiving space thereof along a longitudinal length of the axis of elements, the elements displayed in a collation unit being displayed with a first layout until the number of elements to be displayed in the collation unit exceeds a maximum number of elements displayable with the first layout, the elements displayed in the collation unit being displayed with a second layout when the number of elements to be displayed in the collation unit exceeds the number of elements displayable with the first layout.
Each of the embodiments of the present invention has at least one of the above-mentioned objects and/or aspects, but does not necessarily have all of them. It should be understood that some aspects of the present invention that have resulted from attempting to attain the above-mentioned objects may not satisfy these objects and/or may satisfy other objects not specifically recited herein.
Additional and/or alternative features, aspects, and advantages of embodiments of the present invention will become apparent from the following description, the accompanying drawings, and the appended claims.
Our work is now described with reference to the figures. In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention by way of embodiment(s). It may be evident, however, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, when applicable, well-known structures and devices are shown in block diagram form in order to facilitate describing the present invention.
The features provided in this specification mainly but might not exclusively relate to principles of computer software and machine-readable code/instructions adapted to instruct a computer, many computers or other machines adapted to use the instructions to provide material effects on a display, or other means enabling human-computer interactions to manage documents, menus, user-selectable elements and other computer files. These code/instructions are preferably stored on a machine-readable medium to be read and acted upon with a computer or machine having the appropriate code/instructions reading capability.
The client devices 12 may include devices such as mainframes, minicomputers, personal computers, laptops, personal digital assistants, phones, or the like, capable of connecting to the network 20. The client devices 12 may transmit data over the network 20 or receive data from the network 20 via a wired, wireless, or optical connection.
The servers 14-18 may include one or more types of computer systems, such as a mainframe, minicomputer, or personal computer, capable of connecting to the network 20 to enable servers 14-18 to communicate with the client devices 12. In alternative implementations, the servers 14-18 may include mechanisms for directly connecting to one or more client devices 12. The servers 14-18 may transmit data over the network 20 or receive data from the network 20 via a wired, wireless, or optical connection.
In an implementation consistent with the present invention illustratively embodied herein, the servers 14-18 may include a search engine 22 usable by the client devices 12. The servers 14-18 may store documents 200, such as web pages, accessible by the client devices 12.
With reference to
The following discussion provides a brief, general description of an exemplary computer apparatus in which at least some aspects of the present invention may be implemented. The present invention will be described in the general context of computer-executable instructions, such as program modules 174 being executed by a computerized device. However, methods of the present invention may be affected by other apparatuses. Program modules may include routines, programs, objects, components, data structures, applets, WEB 2.0 type of evolved networked centered applications, etc. that perform a task(s) or implement particular abstract data types. Moreover, those skilled in the art will appreciate that at least some aspects of the present invention may be implemented with other configurations, including hand-held devices, multiprocessor system, microprocessor-based or programmable consumer electronics, network computers, minicomputers, set top boxes, mainframe computers, gaming consoles and the like. At least some aspects of the present invention may also be carried out in distributed computing environments where tasks are performed by remote processing devices linked through a communications network as exemplified in
With reference to
A number of program modules 174 may be stored on the hard disk 127, magnetic disk 129, (magneto) optical disk 131, ROM 124 or RAM 125, such as an operating system 135 (for example, Windows® NT® 4.0, sold by Microsoft® Corporation of Redmond, Wash.), one or more application programs 136, other program modules 137 (such as Alice™, which is a research system developed by the User Interface Group at Carnegie Mellon University available at www.Alice.org, OpenGL® from Silicon Graphics Inc. of Mountain View Calif., or Direct 3D from Microsoft Corp. of Bellevue Wash.), and/or program data 138 for example.
A user may enter commands and data into the computer 120 through input devices, such as a keyboard 140, a camera 141 and a pointing device 142 Other input devices (not shown) such as a microphone, joystick, game pad, satellite dish, scanner, a touch sensitive screen, accelerometers or a motion-sensor detector such as KINECT™ that are adapted to sense movements of the user or movements of a device, or the like, may also be included. These and other input devices are often connected to the processing unit 121 through a serial port interface 146 coupled to the system bus 123. However, input devices may be connected by other interfaces, such as a parallel port, a game port, blue tooth connection or a universal serial bus (USB). For example, since the bandwidth of the camera 141 may be too great for the serial port, the video camera 141 may be coupled with the system bus 123 via a video capture card (not shown). The video monitor 147 or other type of display device 150 may also be connected to the system bus 123 via an interface, such as a video adapter 148 for example. The video adapter 148 may include a graphics accelerator. One or more speakers 162 may be connected to the system bus 123 via a sound card 161 (e.g., a wave table synthesizer such as product number AWE64 Gold Card from Creative® Labs of Milpitas, Calif.). In addition to the monitor 147 and speaker(s) 162, the computer 120 may include other peripheral output devices (not shown), such as a printer, a hi-definition television and a scanner for example. As an alternative or an addition to the video monitor 147, a stereo video output device, such as a head mounted display or LCD shutter glasses for example, could be used.
The computer 120 may operate in a networked environment defining logical connections to one or more remote computers 120, such as a remote computer 149. The remote computer 149 may be another computer 120, a server 14-18, a router, a network PC, a peer device or other common network node, and may include many or all of the elements described above relative to the computer 120. The logical connections depicted in
When used in a LAN, the computer 120 may be connected to the LAN 151 through a network interface adapter (or “NIC”) 153. When used in a WAN, such as the Internet, the computer 120 may include a modem 154 or other means for establishing communications over the wide area network 152 (e.g. Wi-Fi, WinMax). The modem 154, which may be internal or external, may be connected to the system bus 123 via the serial port interface 146 or another type of port interface. In a networked environment, at least some of the program modules depicted relative to the computer 120 may be stored in the remote memory storage device 166. The network connections shown are exemplary and other means of establishing a communications link between the computers 120 may be used.
The exemplary network and the exemplary computer system described above are adapted to carry on the following embodiments:
A system 170 is depicted in
The software system 170 illustratively consists of a collection of at least twelve modules 174 independent from those of the server 14-18 that together carry out the method required for the functionalities to be visible on a graphical user interface and usable by the user. As illustrated, additional modules 226 may also be used in conjunction with the twelve base modules.
A computing module 178 provides a means to circulate data between users, the other modules 174 and the apparatus 100. The computing module 178 is adapted to convert queries 230, which may be system-based or user-based, into graphical rendering in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention. The other modules 174 are configured to send to and receive data from the computing module and to individually or collectively interact with other modules 174.
An application configuration module 182 provides software configuration to manage application settings and open connections to other servers 14-18. Other modules 174 may use the application configuration module 182 to manage their behavior to satisfy user-specific needs.
A data elements management module 186 may be used in conjunction with other modules to manage data elements such as documents 200 contained in a database 32 in response to a query 230. The data elements management module 186 may use any kind of database connection and may use a network communication module 190 in order to access a database 32 through a network 28, on a server computer 14-18. The network communication module 190 may use several protocols in order to communicate with a server computer 14-18, such as IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP, ODBC, HTTP, WebDAV, SSH, IMAP and even define its own specific communication protocol. The data elements management module 186 may also be used in conjunction with an email connectivity module 194 and network communication module 190 in order to treat and represent emails in the same way as the data elements of a database 32. The data elements management module 186 may also be used in conjunction with the permissions module 198 (on the client or server side) in order to control the user access to elements based by some sort of sharing rules. The data elements management module 186 may also work in conjunction with a caches module 202, providing client-side cached versions of the database 32 and files in order to respond to future requests faster. Modules 174 may be made to communicate information in a standardized way by the use of an Application Programming Interface (API) in order to simplify the data elements management module'"'"'s 186 interactions with other modules 174.
The data elements management module 186 may sort through documents 200 stored in the database 32 and connected to each other via a variety of referencing modes, may apply a filter as specified in a query 230 and may subsequently direct the filtered documents 200 to other modules 174 (this will be shown in
The axis-ordering module 206 may manage the ordering of single documents 200 and/or several documents 200 assembled into document sets 220 onto one or more axes 292. In addition of managing the collation of documents 200 onto an axis 292, the axis-ordering module 206 may also manage the order of the documents 200 contained within secondary documents sets 232 (not illustrated). The positioning module 210 manages the positioning of documents 200 within axes 240 based on interactions with other modules 174 processing the various elements contained in a query 230. The positioning module 210 is adapted to and may interpret data contained in document sets 228 generated by the data elements management module 186 in relationship to the query 230 to identify a location for a given document set 228 within the collation of an axis 292. Likewise, a visually distinctive features management module 214 is adapted to interpret data contained in documents 200 or document sets 228 generated by the data elements management module 186 in relationship to the query 230 to selectively apply one or more visually distinctive features 284 (not illustrated in this figure) to single documents 200 or document sets 228. Finally, a display management module 218 may, inter alia, manage elements related to the user interface 234, possibly interacting with a graphics card and a monitor 147. The display management module 218 may use a document-rendering module 222 that provides instructions to render specific documents 200, like images, text files, word-processing files, spreadsheet files, presentation files, etc. The document-rendering module 222 may also provide an API to let developers add their own extensions to deliver to renderers other document types.
Multiple core functionalities could be integrated to provide core operating system 135 services. A graphical layer framework component 256 could be built over the graphics API component 254, and could be used to provide complex drawing capabilities. The layer-based graphics layer framework component 256 may also support widget rendering and handling (like buttons, text fields, dialogs, etc.) A network management component 260 could be based on pre-existing network management capabilities in the operating system core and kernel 250. It could serve as a tool to manage an Internet network connection through Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Modem and other communication channels. A utility component 264 could handle all the other services needed to communicate with the operating system core and kernel 250, providing functionalities such as user login, user authentication, memory, disk-access management, etc. Using these modules, the axis-based user interface 238 would use core functionalities from the graphical layer framework component 256, the network management component 260 and the utility component 264 to provide workspaces 306 comprising multiple axes 292 that display documents 200 (not shown in
The Window Management System Emulation 272 could also offer functions to provide a more axis-based user interface 238 integration, such as, previews, player and editors for the documents 200 displayed in the axis-based user interface 238. For example, a rich text document 200 could use a third-party module 276 or third-party software environment 280 to provide a previewer or media player for the document 200, or a third-party application to integrate a live editor on the axis-based user interface 238.
This computer system 120 could be used, for instance, as a business solution to provide users with an axis-based user interface 238 operating system 135 directly on multiple kinds of devices 34-48 (computers, laptop, tablets, cell phones, etc.). The computer system 120 may also illustratively be used as a business solution to sell preconfigured devices 34-48 with the axis-based user interface 284. Since the operating system 135 has a built-in axis-based user interface 284, the device 34-48 is likely to have a display 150 and other input device like a keyboard 140, a mouse 142 or a touch-screen interface. The devices 34-48 may not necessarily provide such parts and may be adapted to be used by communicating information about the user interface 240 and input methods with other devices 34-48 (television set, motion sensing input device, computer or tablet over network, cell phone, etc.)
The graphical user interface 234 may run through the operating system 135 and the hardware 246 of the computer system 120 or, alternatively, through a network-based system e.g. client-server, and/cloud computing system as exemplified in
An axis-based graphical interface 238 is adapted to graphically structure documents 200 in arrays 288 that arrange the documents 200 in rows and/or columns in a reasonably regular fashion and to allow navigation thereof by the user further to a query 230. The axis-based layout and ordering provide the user with information about the content of each document 200, its meaning and its relationships to the other documents 200 disposed on the axis 292. Navigation tools are provided with the axis-based user interface 238 to allow navigation through the documents 200 of a single axis 292 and of various axes 292 when a plurality of axes 292 is enabled. The display of documents 200 on an array 288, or axis 292, therefore allows contextual management of documents 200 as a flow, or an ongoing rational sequence of documents 200. An axis-based interface 238 thus helps to intuitively display a group of documents 200 and facilitate understanding and managing large sequences of documents 200 bearing a relation.
In a simplified exemplary form, an array 288 may be embodied as an axis of documents 292 (herein below referred to as axis 292 to lighten the text), which groups documents 200 in a single row or column, as illustrated in
The axis 292 can be represented as a single axis 292, a double axis 292, or more axes 292. Axes 292 may be independent from one another (using distinct scales, or orderings, henceforth referred to as collation functions 300) or may form a group of axes 310 by sharing the same scale or collation function 300. Also, a document 200, attribute 296 or other property of an element contained in an axis 292 can be selected and used as a logical connector to create an additional axis 292 from an existing axis 292. This subsidiary axis 294 is meant to be temporary in some embodiments, serving as a way to view a specific set of additional documents 200 or highlight certain documents 200 from the original axis 292 without having to alter the entire workspace 306. It may originate from the logical connector document 200 or information element 200 and be disposed in non-parallel fashion thereto. The subsidiary axis'"'"'s 294 position is preferably orthogonal to the original axis 292. However, the angle may vary. Like axes 292, logically connected axes 294 may be scrollable. More such logically connected axes 2924 can subsequently be created in the same fashion. Navigation among axes 292 and subsidiary axes 294 could be called “relational navigation”.
Axes 292 may be disposed horizontally and/or vertically. Groups of axes 310 may be presented using one of the layouts or combining both. The axes 292 presented in the embodiments below are generally illustrated in the horizontal layout configuration. However, they could, all or in majority, be disposed vertically without departing from the scope of the present disclosure. Other possible graphical layouts of documents 200 might become obvious to a skilled reader in light of the present application and would be considered within the scope of this application.
When only a portion of the axis 292 is visible, a play of zoom, pan and scrolling movements along the axis 292 allows a user to navigate the axis 292 and change the series of documents 200 that are displayed in the display area 314 of the display 150. Scrolling movements can be performed in a variety of ways including but not limited to click-and-drag, pressing on the keys of a keyboard, gesturing to a motion-sensor or on a touch-screen.
Documents 200 might overlap or decrease in size so as to fit or maximize the space available in the display area 314. Selected documents 200 on an axis 292 can be magnified to increase the level of detail shown. Similarly, a small display area 314 could display only one document 200 out of the entire axis 292. The remaining documents 200 would not be shown in the display area 314 but would yet remain at their respective “virtual” position on the axis 292, ready to be displayed upon scrolling the axis 292. In other words, if we consider a mobile platform like a mobile phone having a small display 150, the small display 150 might only allow to efficiently exhibit one document 200 at a time. However, given that the displayed document 200 is part of an axis 292, the other documents 200 on the axis 292 would remain displayable in accordance with their respective position on the axis 292 when the axis is scrolled, navigated, gestured.
The documents 200 are selected to be disposed on the axis 292 on the basis of one or more attributes 296, and are ordered thereon according to a collation function 300, namely an ordered arrangement made by comparison, (e.g. a chronological order adapted to use a time scale 318. The attribute(s) and collation function parameters are specified in a query 230 that may be run by a user or by an automated function of the system. Indeed, each axis 292 groups documents 200 in accordance with, for example, a selected tag, category, keyword, document creator, or other attribute 296 that expresses a characterization of one or more document(s) 200 and that are configurable to represent intrinsic or extrinsic characteristics. The term “attribute” 296 will generally be used throughout the instant specification to lighten the reading of the text and will encompass other document properties or means for establishing commonality or relationships as described above unless otherwise specified.
Attributes 296 may be user-specified or system-specified. Generally, documents 200 bear a plurality of attributes 296 assigned by one or more user(s) (e.g. keyword, subject, project, creator, category, etc.), and a plurality of attributes 296 that are assigned by the system, such as, illustratively, file type, time of creation, number of views, time of last modification, file size, etc. Given the broad range of applicability of the present invention, the attributes 296 that may be assigned by the system and user, as well as the attributes 296 that can be desirable to use in the management of axes 292 might substantially vary from one field or user to another and however remain within the scope of present specification.
The selection of one or more attributes 296 (using Boolean logic for instance) in a query 230 determines which documents 200 will be displayed on the axis 292. If no specific attribute 296 is selected, the axis 292 will display all documents 200 in a default order, like the date of creation thereof. Thus, all documents 200 on the same axis 292 are normally associated with the selected set or combination of attributes 296 that are used as parameters for the axis 292. Third-party data, like publicity or user-targeted information, could also be added to an axis 292, either arbitrarily or according to user information, filtering and/or existing collation of axes 292 without departing from the scope of the present invention.
The documents 200 illustrated in
The query 230 in
An axis 292 or a group of axes 310 may be embodied in a linear configuration 326 or a non-linear configuration 330. Both configurations are illustrated in
Conversely, the non-linear configuration 330 displays collation units 304 of uneven longitudinal sizes because an even distribution of documents 200 along the axis 292 prevails over the linearity of the collation. In other words, document 200 size and a constant flow of documents 200 along the axis 292 are given primacy over having collation units 304 of equal graphical size. This provides a more efficient use of the space on the axes 292, but may provide less meaning to illustrate an evolution along time.
Conversely, the non-linear configuration 330 displays collation units 304 of uneven longitudinal sizes because an even distribution of documents 200 along the axis 292 prevails over the linearity of the collation. In other words, document 200 size and a constant flow of documents 200 along the axis 292 are given primacy over having collation units 304 of equal graphical size. This provides a more efficient use of the space on the axes 292 but may provide less meaning to illustrate an evolution along time.
Documents are not the only items one could find on an axis-like array 288. Videos, menu options, emails and numerous other types of information elements can also be displayed on an axis-like array 288. However, for the purpose of explaining and describing this invention, the Figures presented herein will only reserve to axes 292 with documents 200 only.
In the axis-like array 288, documents 200 are laid out in a linear fashion, based on the framework set out by the collation units 304. By “linear,” we refer to the idea that documents 200 are arranged and extended along a straight horizontal line.
A collation unit 304 collects and combines certain elements on an axis 292. In the case of
The collation unit 304 is chronological in nature. That is, documents 200 are organized on the axis-like array 288 according to time units 322 (t27, t28, t29, t30 and t31) that are equally spaced. The time scale 318 specifies the division of time. For example, it can be by hour, day, month, or year.
The collation function 300 makes it possible for time units 322 to align accordingly on the axis 292 based on a certain time scale 318. Moreover, these time units 322 are moving progressively to the right. The time unit markers 334 identify the beginning and end of a time unit 322.
The collation units 304 do not have to be chronological per se. For example, they can be alphabetical as well or based on a certain feature or identity set out by the user.
Some collation units 304 contain more documents 200 than other ones. This is because on a linear axis 292, the collation units 304 are equally spaced from each other and, therefore, of the same length. As a result, it will often be the case that some collation units 304 will be empty and some—full or partially full of documents.
Axes 292 that have non-equally spaced collation units 304 are called non-linear axes 292. Notably, the variation in length of the collation units is the one major distinctive feature that sets non-linear axes 292 apart from the linear ones 292.
Non-equally spaced collations units 304, presented in
The linear axis configuration 326 presented in
Non-linear axes 292, in general, when visible on a display area 314, show documents 200 or any other elements, while failing to reveal any empty, and therefore, non-occupied by or any other document and/or element, space. The following examples from
The display area 314 to the utmost left side of
The display area 314 in the center of
Similarly, the display area 314 to the right side of
The documents 200 within the display area 314 belong to three different time units, one of which is shown fully on the display area 314. The beginning and end of this time unit are marked by two time unit markers 334. Document 201.1 is the last fully-displayed document 200 shown on the left side of the display area 314.
Within the time unit fully shown on the display area 314, there are two documents with a visually distinctive feature 284, described in greater length in the discussion about
Not all the documents 200 present on the axis 292 shown in
There are two ways documents 342 can be inserted on a document: when it is already existent and is given an attribute based on which the axis 292 is defined, by the user; and when is created or imported by a user. Both these actions result in the same effect, namely, in the addition of a document 200 on an axis 292. In a network collaborative work context, multiple users can simultaneously insert or change attributes of elements 200 distributed on one or more axes 292.
Due to the insertion of document 342, all the documents 200 within and outside of the display area 314 shifted to the right in order to make room for the newly added document 342. Moreover, the document 200.1 is now partially located outside the display area 314 in
The cross sign 378 presented in
The display area 314, also, exhibits four other noteworthy documents 200, three of which are documents with a visually distinctive feature 284. The other one, document 200.2, is located to the left of the document 200.3.
A pointing device 348, embodied in
The reference based upon which the addition and/or removal of documents 342, 346 may take place within and outside of the display area 314 may be embodied, for example, as the position of the cursor 350, as shown in
The reference may be static or dynamic. The static reference is not subject to dislocation as a result of the viewer'"'"'s activity on the display area 314. The static reference may be embodied as a line, displaying vertically the center of the display area 314. For example, it is presented in
The dynamic reference aligns itself to the movement of the pointing device 348, which may be embodied, for example, as a cursor 350 or the position and alignment of the viewer'"'"'s eyes in relation to the display area 314.
The possibilities of the actions one might want to undertake in respect to the document 200.2 are numerous. It may be the case, for example, that the viewer might want to open it, observe its content, read it, and/or send it to someone else as an attachment in an email. However, due to the possible sudden dislocation of the document 200.2, the viewer might unintentionally target another document 200.3 instead of the one the viewer initially intended to target. In this case, the viewer might click, for example, or touch with one'"'"'s finger(s) a document 200 other than the one initially intended to be targeted. This might cause frustration to the viewer, especially when accuracy in one'"'"'s work and deadlines to accomplish a certain task may be of great importance to the user. Undesirable consequences to the viewer as a result of the insertion of the document 342 are most likely to occur especially when the insertion is subject to no order or, in other words, randomly carried out.
As a result of the insertion of the document 342, the cursor 350 is now pointing towards the document 200.3. This is because the document 342, when inserted on the axis 292, pushed to the left, as indicated by the arrow 366, the documents 200 located on the left side of the space occupied by the document 342. The movement to the left occurred as a result of the insertion of the document 342 on the axis 292.
The vertical line 354 indicates the location of the display area 314 aimed by the viewer, based on the position of the cursor 350. The insertion of the document 342 on the axis 292 is carried out so that the documents 200 move in the opposite direction from the vertical line 354; in other words, in the opposite direction from where the aimed document 382 is located. The arrow 366 indicates that the documents 200 move towards the right side of the display area 314 as the aimed document 382 is located on the left side of the display area 314.
The actual position and aim of the viewer'"'"'s eyes in relation to the display area 314 can be detected, for example, via a web camera connected to the display area 314. The web camera could be used in order to track the viewer'"'"'s eye movements and/or hand gestures. Even if the pointing device 348 in
The display area 314 is equally divided into two sub-regions: the idle region 394 and the active region 398. The active region 398 is the space of the display area 314 towards which the viewer is aiming in order to reach a certain aimed document 200.4. It is therefore the region of the display area 314 in which most of the movement of the pointing device 348 and/or of the aim of the viewer'"'"'s eyes is/are taking place. Similarly, the idle region 394 is the space of the display area 314 towards which the viewer does not aim via its pointing device 348 and/or glance.
Once these two regions are identified and marked through the usage of the vertical axis 354 (not shown to the user), the insertion of documents 342 takes place within the idle region 394 and outside the display area 314, where the addition of an extra document 342 would not cause the displacement of any documents 200 within the active region 398.
The non-insertion arrow 402 indicates that the insertion of document 342 within the active region 398 does not occur. That is because the viewer, by moving the pointing device 348 embodied in this Figure by the cursor 350, would cause the system to pause and assess the direction of the movement of the cursor 350. Once it would stop at a specific aimed document 200.4, the system would identify the region of the display area 314 upon which the trajectory of the movement of the cursor 250 was traced. This region is the active region 398 of the display area 314.
The actual presentation of the display area notifications feature 406 may vary. The wording and content of the notifications may differ as well. One example would be that it could provide the following information to the viewer: three documents 200 have been added to the axis; one of the documents 342 is to be inserted within the display area 314; one document 200 from the display area 314 has been removed. These notifications may, also, indicate the identity of the user(s) who added and/or removed documents 342, 346. Moreover, these notifications may offer the time when these documents 342, 346 may be added and/or removed from the axis 292 in light of the preferences and selection of the viewer. Documents 342 outside of the display area 314 may be added or removed at in real and/or at a later time, in dependence of the viewer'"'"'s preferences and choices.
The user may also have the choice to decide when the addition and/or removal of the document 342, 346 may occur. The display area notification feature 406 may offer the addition and/or removal of the documents 342, 346 to be carried out automatically on a specific and/or periodical time. It may also offer to add and/or remove the documents 342, 346 when the user removes and reopens the axis 292.
Despite the insertion of an additional document 342 within the time unit t27, the time unit t27 itself does not change in length. This is because the rest of the documents 200 within the time unit t27 reduced in size to accommodate the addition of the document 342.
In our preferred embodiment, no two axes 292 can be displayed on the same vertical line. Stated differently, any two axes 292, presented in a group of axes 310 will never be vertically placed in a tangential fashion. The end of an axis 338 may not lie next to the beginning or start of another axis 292. Given that, it is often the case that there might be non-occupied (by any document 200) space between two axes 292. In the case of the
Empty space, non-occupied by documents 200 within an axis 292 is different from the empty space between two axes 292. Axes 292 B, C, D, G and F, for example, all have empty spaces where documents 200 may be potentially added in the future. Whereas there might a possibility for an addition of a or several other document(s) 342 to be added on axis 292 B, C and D for example, within the space presently non-occupied by documents 200, there is no possibility for this to materialize in case of the empty space highlighted as grey shaded area next to the left and respective right the end of the axes 338 presented in the
The displacement of the document 200.1 from within towards outside of the display area 314 may cause undesirable consequences on the viewer of the display area 314, especially when the document 200.1 is the document the viewer aims to reach. Moreover, the insertion of the document 342 on the axis 292 A causes the time unit t27 to become larger than it was initially, so that it would accommodate the new document 342 insertion.
As illustrated in
A series of documents 342, which have been added simultaneously or at a certain time distance from each other an axis 292, are partially displayed on the display area 314. They are located within the receiving space 434.
The addition of the documents 342 may cause the sudden enlargement of the time unit t27 to which they belong, and which is partially presented on the display area 314. In the case of the
A series of documents 342 are being added simultaneously or at a certain time distance from each other, on axis 292 D, which is partially displayed on the display area 314. The addition of the documents 342 may cause the sudden enlargement of the time unit t27 partially presented on the display area 314. In the case of the
The elements management device 422, as
The group of documents 430 may indicate the number of documents 342 added to the axis 292 D. In the case of the
The viewer of the display area 314 may explore the added documents 342 within the group of documents 430 a later time with or without changing the size of the time unit t27 and of the layout of the documents 200 within the display area 314.
Steps 1, which starts at block 458, consists of searching for events in respect to the adding and/or removal of documents 342, 346 taking place on the axis 292. If such events do occur, the system shows the display area notification feature 406, listing the information pertaining to the newly added and/or removed documents 342, 346.
The second step, which starts at block 462, consists of identifying if there are any insertions of documents 342 taking place on the axis 292. If the cursor 350 is moving, the system identifies the active region 348, towards which the cursor 350 is moving. Then, if the inserted document 342 is in the active region 398, the insertion does not take place. However, if the respective document 342 is at the left of the active region 398, the system pushes the documents 200 before the inserted document 342, to the left. After pushing the documents 200 to the left or to the right of the axis 292, the document 342 is inserted on the axis 292.
If the cursor 350 is not moving, if the inserted document 342 is at the left of the cursor 350, the system pushes the documents 200 before the inserted document 342, to the left of the axis 292. If the inserted document 342 is at the right of the cursor 350, the system pushes the documents 200 after the inserted document 342, to the right of the axis 292. The document 342 is consequently inserted on the axis 292.
Once the document 342 is inserted on the axis 292, the system identifies if the inserted documents 342 was placed on a linear or non-linear axis 292. If it is a linear axis 292, the system verifies if there is sufficient space to accommodate the insertion of the document 342. If this is not the case, the system compacts the inserted documents 342 within a time unit 322.
If the inserted document 342 was not placed on a linear axis 292, and was placed within a group of axes 310, the system checks if the time unit 322 has become larger as a result of the insertion of the document 342. If this were the case, the system checks if there are documents 200 visible on the other axes 292 of the group 310. If all these conditions hold true, the system adds temporary additional space 450 outside the display area 314 in order to keep the documents 200 within the display area 314.
Step 3 identifies if there are any documents 346 to be removed from an axis 292. If this were to be the case, the system identifies if the respective documents 346 are shown on the display area 314. If the document 346 is displayed on the display 314, the system adds a cross sign 378 to identify the removed document 346 from the rest of the documents 200 displayed on the display area 314. The document 346 is removed from the number of documents 200 displayed on the display area 314 the user may have selected. The system also disables the selection features on the document 346.
If the document 346 is not within the display area 314, it is removed from the axis 292. If the removed document 346 is at the left of the display area 314, the system pushes the documents 200 before the removed document 346, to the right. If this is not the case, the system pushes the documents 200 before the removed document 346, to the left.
The description and the drawings that are presented above are meant to be illustrative of the present invention. They are not meant to be limiting of the scope of the present invention. Modifications to the embodiments described may be made without departing from the present invention, the scope of which is defined by the following claims: