Browse Prior Art Database

Multifunctional Graphical Entities via Temporal Multiplexing

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000110339D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-25
Document File: 1 page(s) / 24K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

McKiel, FA: AUTHOR

Abstract

To change the function of a pointer or icon on a display normally requires accessing a menu and making a selection. This invention allows an icon to alternate function and appearance periodically so the user can select the desired action on the basis of timing. This practice packs more function into less screen space and allows for modulating pointer activity on the fly.

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Multifunctional Graphical Entities via Temporal Multiplexing

       To change the function of a pointer or icon on a display
normally requires accessing a menu and making a selection.  This
invention allows an icon to alternate function and appearance
periodically so the user can select the desired action on the basis
of timing.  This practice packs more function into less screen space
and allows for modulating pointer activity on the fly.

      The action that will be performed by or upon an icon, pointer,
or other graphical interface component varies according to WHEN it
receives user input in the following manner:
A)   The icon periodically changes its appearance (approximately once
or twice per second) to indicate what function it is prepared to
perform.  It may alternate between two or more appearances,
maintaining each one long enough for a user to recognize and
interact, if so desired.
B)   Pressing a key or mouse button causes action or selection
according to the appearance of the item.  Thus, the user may wait
until the item graphically indicates the desired function before
pressing a key or button to trigger an action.
C)   The application designer can multiplex several actions into the
same icon or pointer without taking up more screen area.
D)   The sequence described above may include brief inactive periods
as a pad between adjacent active modes to make the interface
forgiving of user latency.