Three Dimensional GUI via Mouse Wheel Z-Axis Navigation, Desktop Layers & Visual Depth Indications
Original Publication Date: 2004-Aug-20
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Aug-20
Current GUI technology is reaching the extent of its innovation and capabilities within a two dimensional environment. What is needed is a mechanism to enable three dimensional navigation while simultaneously leveraging current two dimensional user interface technology and input devices. Three dimensional GUIs can be implemented by enabling the following innovations: 1) Enable the user interface to consist of several two dimensional desktops layered in the z-axis. 2) Enable a mouse wheel to perform navigation between layers. 3) Enact visual representations that indicate to the user that items are on underlying layers.
Three Dimensional GUI via Mouse Wheel Z -Axis Navigation, Desktop Layers & Visual Depth Indications
The simplest version of the proposed user interface is a two-dimensional single layer that functions as the typical windows desktop currently operates, along with a blank layer that can be navigated to by using a mouse wheel.
Mouse wheel navigation behavior operates as follows:
When navigating along the positive z-axis (which I will describe as being toward the user), the current desktop layer and all underlying layers are pushed one layer into the background and a graphic filter is applied against items on the former layer to shade them in a unique way that differentiates them from non-active windows in the current desktop layer. The desktop furthest away from the user will then become the current desktop.
When navigating in the negative z-axis, the current layer becomes the deepest layer and all underlying layers move toward the user by one.
In this implementation there is always a blank layer. If this layer ever becomes non-empty, either through executing a program on this layer or by dragging an item to it, a new blank layer will be created underneath the current deepest layer.
A layer will be destroyed when a non-empty layer becomes empty and is navigated away from.
Drag and drop operations across layers can be executed by holding down the left click button over an item and rolling the mouse wheel with another finger.
In one embodiment, shading accumulates as...