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Free-Space Search for Best-Fit Placement of New Desktop Objects

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000110914D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-26
Document File: 2 page(s) / 108K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Johnson, WJ: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

A methodology is described that determines the best fit for placing a newly created object onto a desktop. The new object is placed on the desktop in a position that minimally obstructs current desktop objects, in a priority overlayed position. The methodology prevents the user from having to mentally develop strategies using the mouse or cursor keys to position and size the new object in some uncluttered place on the desktop.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 50% of the total text.

Free-Space Search for Best-Fit Placement of New Desktop Objects

      A methodology is described that determines the best fit for
placing a newly created object onto a desktop.  The new object is
placed on the desktop in a position that minimally obstructs current
desktop objects, in a priority overlayed position.  The methodology
prevents the user from having to mentally develop strategies using
the mouse or cursor keys to position and size the new object in some
uncluttered place on the desktop.

      In a window-based graphical user-interface operating system,
users are frequently faced with the dilemma of a cluttered desktop,
and today's GUIs often do not take into account previous application
panel locations when determining where to display a new desktop
object.  Many objects are placed on the screen without regard to the
previous panels or to what objects cover the Desktop.  This algorithm
conducts a free space search on the desktop in order to best
determine where to place new objects on the desktop and thus, enhance
the usability of a new application.

      When a desktop object is created, the GUI either places the new
object at a default location on the screen, or at application-defined
coordinates.  This methodology provides a means of intuitive
organization that overcomes the problem of different, cluttered, and
open windows on the desktop that overlay each other since the desktop
is limited to the available physical space on the screen.

      The new object is placed on the desktop in a position that
minimally obstructs current desktop objects, in a priority overlayed
position.  In the case of being within a full-screen session this
could mean placing the object in the right-top corner of the session
instead of the center of the display.  If the object is a panel and
it is too tall to be displayed in the tallest available free space,
it is placed in the free space that best fits the size of the panel,
with its Title Bar against the top of the free space.  This way the
user knows which panel he is dealing with, is able to move it with
the Title Bar, and has access to the Action Bar.  If the panel is too
wide to be displayed in the widest available free space, it is placed
so that its left border is against the left border of the free space.
This will ensure the user has access to the system menu to close the
panel.

      Hereinafter, the term "object" refers to windows, icons,
panels, etc., anything visually presentable on a desktop.  In order
to present the user with a more intuitive interface, the free-space
search algorithm searches the desktop for the best fit (in terms of
available desktop space) for placement of the new object.  The
following criteria help the algorithm in its decision making:

o   Empty space on the desktop (void of text, graphics, windows,
    etc.)

o   Default application panel size upon invocation

o   Contrast of shapes and objects within new application panel...