Browse Prior Art Database

Multiple chat threads within a single window

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000031378D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Sep-22
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Sep-22
Document File: 3 page(s) / 46K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

The essence of this invention is to fully accommodate multiple chat threads within a single chat session and window. There are a few ways to do this. One is to provide users multiple text input areas leading to a single output, which allows users to type ahead on a new thread of discussion while waiting for a reply on an earlier discussion thread, with the output merged together seamlessly from the recipient's point of view (shown in Figure 2). The other is to provide users multiple text input areas, each leading to it's own output display area, which allows each thread a higher-level of focus and independence (shown in Figure 3).

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Multiple chat threads within a single window

This invention solves prominent problems associated with not having the capability today to handle multiple threads within one chat window. Because of this current limitation users end up using other programs together with a chat session (e.g., Notepad) to clumsily cut and paste in text. Also, chat sessions today can quickly get out of synch, with one user jumping to another topic while the other is still down-level a thread on the previous topic. The big advantage of this invention is simplicity and accommodation. We've all observed folks using editors like Notepad to cut and paste information into a chat entry area, which is clumsy and crude at best (and can lead to line break problems too), and most of us have also had chat sessions get out of synch as multiple topics continually change. This invention solves both problems.

The example below illustrates this invention. First, the user starts a chat session with some small talk (see Figure 1), but he will also want to start queuing up the primary reason for the chat which is to discuss business. The capability to do this would give the user an advantage of being able to work ahead of the present conversation. The user might click a button such as "Mutli Chat" to initiate the 2nd within-window chat thread.

Figure 1 - Normal single-threaded chat session (prior art)

After clicking the "Multi Chat" button shown previously in Figure 1, and after typing in a 2nd discussion...