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Browse Prior Art Database

New Icons

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000118136D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-01
Document File: 4 page(s) / 164K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Becker, CH: AUTHOR [+6]

Abstract

Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) provide ways for users of computers and other devices to effectively communicate with the computer. In GUIs, available applications and data sets are often represented by icons consisting of small graphical representations which can be selected by a user and moved on the screen. As computing options expand in complexity, it becomes appropriate to expand the ways in which we can represent application or function interfaces, in order to help users interact with computers, by deploying icons which have functional ties to their look and feel.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 35% of the total text.

New Icons

      Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) provide ways for users of
computers and other devices to effectively communicate with the
computer.  In GUIs, available applications and data sets are often
represented by icons consisting of small graphical representations
which can be selected by a user and moved on the screen.  As
computing options  expand in complexity, it becomes appropriate to
expand the ways in which  we can represent application or function
interfaces, in order to help users interact with computers, by
deploying icons which have functional  ties to their look and feel.

      For example, consider a user moving from a traditional desktop
system utilizing standard icons to a 3-dimensional or Virtual-Reality
(VR) system.  To ease this transition, it is desirable to have as
much commonality of icons and icon function as possible; however,
virtual reality limits some of the traditional ways to interact with
icons (such  as clicking a mouse button to pull down a menu of
options) while allowing  new interactions (such as directly
manipulating the icon).

      For our solution, a number of icon options are offered.  Their
purpose is provide more intuitive user interfaces, in line with
increasingly complex computing capabilities, and to enhance the
productivity of the user.

      Note that in a VR environment, many of the current methods
for indicating the status of a process represented by an icon (such
as cross-hatching or shading the background of the icon) cannot be
applied.  Many of the icons disclosed here use other features to
indicate such status information.

      Currently, icons can be visible or hidden, can be layered
one on top of another, or scaled in size.  With computing complexity
expanding, we believe these additional icon functions and
representations will make icons more intuitive for the user.

Noisy/Musical Icons:

      In one embodiment, icons appear to emit a sound.  For example,
a tone can be produced when a user clicks on an icon.  The user would
hear a "tune" or series of tones, as he sequentially selected the
icons necessary to reach his desired task (for example, he might
select icons representing OS/2*, the LAN, the application menu, the
application, and the task).  The tone emitted by an icon may be
selected to represent the "depth" of the selected icon in the
selection tree.  For example, a top-level selection (such as a
desktop folder icon) may be associated with a high tone, while
subsequent selections within that folder may have progressively lower
tones.  This provides the user with an aural indication of "where" he
is in the sub-choice structure.

      Hearing a familiar tune when an icon sequence was accessed
would allow an error in the sequence to be audibly detected (like the
audible detection of having dialed a wrong number on a touch tone
phone).  Additionally, noisy icons could help a user remember an icon
path by adding an auditory com...