Browse Prior Art Database

DIRECTION-BASED NAVIGATION IN A ZOOMING UNIVERSE

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000021378D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Jan-16
Document File: 2 page(s) / 207K

Publishing Venue

Sony Technical Digest

Related People

Jesse Michael Hammons: INVENTOR

Abstract

This invention allows a user to navigate through a zooming space, using a keyboard input instead of solely relying on a mouse input. On many platforms, using a pointing device is either awkward or inconvenient, and users must interact by way of some sort of control device. These devices, e.g. a keyboard, provide arrow keys that allow the user to choose something in a given "direction." "Direction" here refers to the direction in which a user chooses to move a selected item in the user interface. Direction based input is not limited to keypads, however, as trackballs and other new methods allow a user to input an arbitrary direction, instead of choosing from among a fixed number of fixed directions.

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Sony Technical Digest, Volume 3, November 2000, ISSN 1521-5180

DIRECTION-BASED NAVIGATION IN A ZOOMING UNIVERSE

Invention by:

Jesse Michael Hammons

This invention allows a user to navigate through a zooming space, using a keyboard input instead of solely relying on a mouse input. On many platforms, using a pointing device is either awkward or inconvenient, and users must interact by way of some sort of control device. These devices, e.g. a keyboard, provide arrow keys that allow the user to choose something in a given "direction." "Direction" here refers to the direction in which a user chooses to move a selected item in the user interface. Direction based input is not limited to keypads, however, as trackballs and other new methods allow a user to input an arbitrary direction, instead of choosing from among a fixed number of fixed directions.

Directional navigation in a zooming environment presents many technical problems and design issues not found in current two-dimensional GUIs. For the most part, current non­zooming systems solve the problems of navigating between different interface components by placing these components into so-called "tab groups". The user is able to move sequentially between these grouped components by pressing the "tab" key. This is implemented by storing the tab group as an explicit list. The "tab" key moves forward through the list and the "shift-tab" combination moves backwards; the application developer creates the list, and the user is not able to change the ordering of the objects in the tab group. The application developer is responsible for ordering the tab group in such a way that it makes sense to the user (e.g. making sure adjacent objects are close to each other in "tab order").

This commonplace navigational technique is in contrast to the directional navigation invention. In using directional navigation, the user selects an interface component by pressing a direction key that moves the selection from the current object to the next visible object in that direction. This method does not store an explicit list of objects. Instead, the screen space in the given direction is searched for the closest object in that direction. In this scheme, the application developer does not have to create and maintain tab groups. Furthermore, the application ca...