Browse Prior Art Database

Tree-Splitter

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000118000D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-31
Document File: 4 page(s) / 80K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Noonan, TK: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

"Trees" are used in graphical-user interfaces to present nested hierarchical relationships. Options (also referred to as 'leaves') are grouped at various nodes on a tree. In a large expanded tree, the user may be required to scroll far down and then back up the tree to find and select various leaves on the tree. + Option A + Option B + Option C + Option D + Option E + Option F + Option G + Option H + Option I + Option J + Option K + Option L + Option M + Option N + Option O + Option P Fig. 1

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 54% of the total text.

Tree-Splitter

      "Trees" are used in graphical-user interfaces to present nested
hierarchical relationships.  Options (also referred to as 'leaves')
are grouped at various nodes on a tree.  In a large expanded tree,
the user  may be required to scroll far down and then back up the
tree to find and  select various leaves on the tree.
  + Option A
  + Option B
  + Option C
  + Option D
  + Option E
  + Option F
  + Option G
  + Option H
  + Option I
  + Option J
  + Option K
  + Option L
  + Option M
  + Option N
  + Option O
  + Option P
  Fig. 1

      The proposed "tree-splitter" concept enables the user to modify
the display of a tree so as to use the space in the window container
more efficiently.  Trees in traditional graphical user interfaces
grow and expand in the vertical dimension, leaving the horizontal
dimensions disproportionately under-utilized.  This disparity between
the height and width of the tree naturally results in an inefficient
use of screen real estate and, thus, requires a considerable amount
of vertical scrolling in browsing and searching tasks.

      The tree-splitter would enable the user to 'split' a tree at
any given 'group' or 'subgroup' in the tree.  In so doing, a new
virtual column would be displayed containing that portion of the
tree.  The original portion of the tree would be displayed in first
column.  All 'splits' of the tree would result in additional virtual
columns containing those portions of the tree.
  - Option A
    + Option A1
    + Option A2
    -> Option A3
  - Option B
    + Option B1
    -> Option B2
    -> Option B3
  - Option C
    -> Option C1
    -> Option C2
    -> Option C3
  - Option D
    + Option D1
    + Option D2
    -> Option D3
    -> Option D4
  etc...
  Fig. 2

      Splitting the tree could result in a left-right scroll bar so
should the user split the tree numerous times, the user could scroll
left and right to view the relevant portions.  Finally, when the tree
is split, the heading of the new column would contain a 'grayed-out'
label of the parent from which the split was made.  This way the user
could trace where the split of the tree originated should the user
need to know at a later time.  The tree splitter would enable the
user to position parts of the tree used frequently at or near the top
of a screen reducing the need for scrolling.  Items searched for more
frequently would be more readily available.

      Finally, a 're-assemble' action could be included in the menu
to allow the user to 'undo' one or all splits of the tree.
  - Option A
    - Option A1
      -> Option A1a
      -> Option A1b
      -> Option A1c
   ...