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Transportation Metaphor Workflow Status Display

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000109164D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-23
Document File: 7 page(s) / 266K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Fitzpatrick, GP: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

The change from paper batch processing to on-line workflow processing makes it very difficult to understand the status of work in process. Forms processing tools allow for transaction paths to be defined and one of several people to request a transaction from a common queue to process the next available transaction. Some forms processing tools have library controls as well. Checking of queue lengths is generally accomplished by a text query generating either a number waiting or list of items to be done.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 33% of the total text.

Transportation Metaphor Workflow Status Display

       The change from paper batch processing to on-line
workflow processing makes it very difficult to understand the status
of work in process.  Forms processing tools allow for transaction
paths to be defined and one of several people to request a
transaction from a common queue to process the next available
transaction.  Some forms processing tools have library controls as
well.  Checking of queue lengths is generally accomplished by a text
query generating either a number waiting or list of items to be done.

      This article describes a Graphical User Interface (GUI)
illustrated in Figs. 1A and 1B which uses a vehicle paradigm and
allows a user to "see" various views of the work in process and "zoom
in" for more detail (within the user's scope of view and access
authority).  This process can either be added to existing transaction
processing systems for management information or used as a total
transaction processing paradigm for knowledge workers.  It works well
for geographically dispersed offices.

      The preferred embodiment of this process is a Client/Server LAN
(Local Area Network) implementation: however, the process does not
restrict nor imply a specific hardware configuration or specific
software platform.

      As illustrated in Fig. 1A, users with the appropriate level of
need and security can get an overview of multiple forms, work
stations, and paths.  The user could pan, tilt, and zoom the view
under mouse control to allow view of different parts of the operation
without additional interaction from the LAN Server.  This level of
detail will show major transaction flow, bottlenecks, backlogs both
in approximate quantity and by type of form/folder.

      As illustrated in Fig. 1B, this view is focused on ONE building
(process) and its attached parking garage showing form/folder backlog
in greater detail.  If the site chooses to identify folders as cars,
the shape could denote form type and color the transaction time in
system (aging perhaps from yellow to purple).  Other properties could
be "blinking" for items meeting search criteria and passengers/seats
showing who is 'on board' (signatures given vs. those still to go).
Component Description (refer to Fig. 2):
EUI Driver 10:
This control element manages the screen display of workflow status
requested by the user.  It communicates only with the Display Manager
20 to acquire information allowing physical screen display and
enabling user interaction.
Display Manager 20:
This is the central client-control element of this process.  It
determines the presentation of data elements and their GUI
representation.  It can allow the user to pan and tilt to navigate
around the presentation space at the then-current level of detail
(zoom setting).  Information is provided by the Workflow Manager 80
and pictures are provided by the Zoom Manager 30.  The Display
Manager determines the appropriate lo...