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User Interface Technique for Managing All Open Objects in a Windowing Environment

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000105090D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-19
Document File: 4 page(s) / 118K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Haddon, MA: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The "user in control" design premise is one of the fundamental principles of object oriented user interface design. This philosophy embraces the concept that the user is in control of the system instead of the system dictating or limiting how the user interacts with the system at any given point in time. Consequently, in an object oriented system, the user has the flexibility to interact with any part of the system at any time. Unfortunately, with this flexibility the user may end up with an extremely "messy desk" which results from opening and overlaying numerous windows. Fig. 1, Managing a "messy desk" is a cumbersome task in a windowing environment. Moving, sizing, and arranging windows can be a very time consuming job.

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User Interface Technique for Managing All Open Objects in a Windowing Environment

      The "user in control" design premise is one of the fundamental
principles of object oriented user interface design.  This philosophy
embraces the concept that the user is in control of the system
instead of the system dictating or limiting how the user interacts
with the system at any given point in time.  Consequently, in an
object oriented system, the user has the flexibility to interact with
any part of the system at any time.  Unfortunately, with this
flexibility the user may end up with an extremely "messy desk" which
results from opening and overlaying numerous windows.  Fig. 1,
Managing a "messy desk" is a cumbersome task in a windowing
environment.  Moving, sizing, and arranging windows can be a very
time consuming job.  Also, it is important to note that as the
computer systems increase the user's flexibility, it also increases
the potential for confusion and user error.

      In today's complex work environment, a typical user's job
requires multiple tasks to be performed simultaneously such as;
answering phone calls, attending meetings on short notice, providing
signature approvals, perform urgent tasks, as well as performing
specific job related tasks.  The end result is that the user can
easily lose context of the tasks being performed.

      The particular application domain and user's work environment
influences the severity of the messy desk problem.  A single user's
job may encompass either a few short steps or complex task requiring
multiple steps.  For example, a typical scenario in the supply side
of a manufacturing plant is as follows:

      A  buyer is creating a new purchase order which is comprised of
three approved requisitions.  One of the requisitions is for a part
that the standard supplier no longer supplies, therefore the buyer
must look through the list of potential suppliers.  Also, while
creating this new purchase order the buyer is typically interrupted
by; telephone calls from suppliers, problems in receiving due to
previous purchase orders, urgent supplies needing top priority,
outstanding purchase orders needing approvals, etc...  All these
tasks must be performed in addition to the daily administrative
functions such as working with the mail log, the calendar, time card
processing, and the telephone directory.

      In summary, even the most basic tasks have the potential for
becoming unmanageable, consequently users need assistance their
window management task.

      To invoke the 'Tile by All Objects' function, the system menu
icon on the workplace window will contain the 'Tile by' pull-down
choice.  The 'Tile by' pulldown will use a cascading pull-down to
provide the tiling options.  (Fig. 2) System menu pull-down on the
Workplace window with "Tile by" choice and the c...