Browse Prior Art Database

Translucent Window Attribute

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000104834D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-19
Document File: 2 page(s) / 82K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Fitzpatrick, GP: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Users of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) need to interact with an ever-increasing number of graphical objects. Current technology allows any number of windows and icons to appear to be placed logically "on top of" one another in a Z-order arrangement. The problem with this situation is that objects can become completely obscured by one another, with the result that the user becomes unaware of hidden objects. Only very indirect (and non-intuitive) means are available to the user to detect and interact with these objects.

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Translucent Window Attribute

      Users of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) need to interact with
an ever-increasing number of graphical objects.  Current technology
allows any number of windows and icons to appear to be placed
logically "on top of" one another in a Z-order arrangement.  The
problem with this situation is that objects can become completely
obscured by one another, with the result that the user becomes
unaware of hidden objects.  Only very indirect (and non-intuitive)
means are available to the user to detect and interact with these
objects.

      Current art in GUIs implicitly categorizes objects in a binary
fashion:

1.  Directly accessible: This category includes all objects in which
    all or part of the object is visible to the user.
2.  Indirectly accessible: This category includes all objects which
    are completely hidden by other objects.

      This article describes a novel window attribute -- translucency
-- which enables a user to access objects located "below" windows
possessing this attribute.  Windows possessing this attribute enable
the user to access otherwise-obscured objects below the surface of
the window.  Instead of making the obscured object inaccessible, this
attribute allows a diminished view of the object to show through the
translucent window.  From the user's point of view, translucency
could be manifested via a muting of color (graying) and/or loss of
detail of the obscured object.

      To minimize user confusion and screen clutter, a translucent
window will allow only objects immediately below it in the Z-order to
show through.  Thus, only one additional level below the translucent
window will be seen at any one time.

      This property is most appropriat...