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Multiple-Desk User Interface

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000047303D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-07
Document File: 2 page(s) / 14K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Bantz, DF: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The Spatial Data Management System (SDMS) of the Architecture Machine Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has implemented a user interface that presents the view of spatially distributed data elements to the user. The objects of the interface (telephone, photo album, piles of documents) have a position on a large two-dimensional surface, to be thought of as a large virtual desk. Users navigate around in this space by remembering that the telephone is in the upper right corner, for example. The user interface has been found to be easy to learn and efficient for a user to use. A generalization of the SDMS user interface is described herein in which the user is presented with multiple virtual desks, one for each of the activities or roles of the user.

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Multiple-Desk User Interface

The Spatial Data Management System (SDMS) of the Architecture Machine Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has implemented a user interface that presents the view of spatially distributed data elements to the user. The objects of the interface (telephone, photo album, piles of documents) have a position on a large two-dimensional surface, to be thought of as a large virtual desk. Users navigate around in this space by remembering that the telephone is in the upper right corner, for example. The user interface has been found to be easy to learn and efficient for a user to use. A generalization of the SDMS user interface is described herein in which the user is presented with multiple virtual desks, one for each of the activities or roles of the user. For example, a desk may be allocated to an activity such as preparing a quarterly progress report. In that case, only those items relevant to the preparation of the progress report would appear on that desk. Telephone calls from people known by the system to have been consulted for the preparation of the report are routed to the telephone on the "progress report" desk. When the user resumes the activity of preparing the report, the system presents the progress report desk with highest priority. When the user suspends the activity, the appearance of the progress report desk is preserved and some other desk is presented to the user. If desks are associated with user roles, then when the user assumes that role, the corresponding desk is presented. For example, if the user is serving as a receptionist and also as a dispatcher, the system would maintain two desks and would allow for the rapid switching from one desk to the other as the user's role changes. If the user is secretary to several principals, then one desk would be maintained for each principal, that desk containing work in progress and records pertaining only to a particular principal. If the secretary answers the principal's telephone, only the phone on that principal's desk would ring so that when the secretary answers the phone, the principal's schedule and correspondence are immediately available. This user interface is optimal for disjoint activities or roles, but must be modified for activities that involve several roles. For example, suppose that the secretary must schedule a meeting between several of the principals. What is needed is rapid access to the schedules of the various principals, but these are maintained on separate desks. The user interface should then include another desk for the acti...