Browse Prior Art Database

Stopwatch Pointer: A Dynamic Progress Indicator

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000108846D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-23
Document File: 3 page(s) / 121K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Haynes, TR: AUTHOR

Abstract

The problem solved by this invention is how to indicate to a user that an event-driven window in a graphical user interface (GUI) environment is currently not accepting mouse input, yet concurrently provide feedback to the user about the running task.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Stopwatch Pointer: A Dynamic Progress Indicator

       The problem solved by this invention is how to indicate
to a user that an event-driven window in a graphical user interface
(GUI) environment is currently not accepting mouse input, yet
concurrently provide feedback to the user about the running task.

      In currently implemented GUIs, when a window is busy and not
accepting mouse input the system often changes the mouse pointer from
the standard shape (e.g., an arrow) to an icon which indicates a
delay to the user.  Icons seen in some products include the common
hourglass shape, an analog clock, and a circle with quadrants of
alternating white and black (Fig. 1).  In the latter case, the icon
sometimes is animated to simulate it turning.

      The problem with these methods is that there is other
information the user might find useful that the new mouse icon could
provide, but does not, such as:
      1.   How much time has elapsed since the task was invoked.
      2.   How much further before the task is completed.

      Also, the user usually has no way to suspend the activity once
it has begun.  Applications sometimes provide these added functions
by opening a progress indicator window that shows a relative idea of
how far the task has yet to go before completion, as well as
providing a way to suspend or halt the action (Fig. 2).
Unfortunately most applications do not provide such feedback, and
besides, such a method requires opening another window which can lead
to the familiar problem of 'too many windows' and 'messy desktop', as
well as being less than aesthetically optimal.

      The invented technique allows the application to change the
mouse pointer to a dynamic, smart iconic form.  The metaphor chosen
is that of a stopwatch, because stopwatches show elapsed time, and
can be halted or reset.  The stopwatch icon (Fig. 3) is a circle with
a small button on top.  There is a sweep second hand and a minute
hand.  When an application begins an action, the mouse pointer is
changed to the stopwatch icon.  Every real-time second...