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Muting of Sensory Elements for Temporally-Extended Computing Sessions

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000123804D
Original Publication Date: 1999-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-05
Document File: 2 page(s) / 83K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Haynes, TR: AUTHOR

Abstract

Users of graphical interfaces are subjected today to a myriad of element collections on the display. These designs are manifested by color combinations and choices, interface object choice and positioning, etc. Interface designers often attempt to gain the attention of casual observers by the use of garish colors and visual or auditory patterns -- the goal is to 'stand out' from the competition. For instance, an e-commerce web site developer might use bright primary colors (e.g. red, yellow, blue) and stark patterns (e.g. thick-lined, sharp drawings) to 'catch the eye' and in crease traffic to the site.

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Muting of Sensory Elements for Temporally-Extended Computing Sessions

   Users of graphical interfaces are subjected today to a
myriad of element collections on the display.  These designs are
manifested by color combinations and choices, interface object
choice and positioning, etc. Interface designers often attempt to
gain the attention of casual observers by the use of garish colors
and visual or auditory patterns -- the goal is to 'stand out' from
the competition.  For instance, an e-commerce web site developer
might use bright primary colors (e.g. red, yellow, blue) and stark
patterns (e.g. thick-lined, sharp drawings) to 'catch the eye' and in
crease traffic to the site.

   However, eye fatigue and sensory overload are common side
effects of prolonged exposure to loud elements.  If a page or window
is looked at by a user for a long time (e.g., scrolling and reading
accompanying text), the loud background elements can become
bothersome and might lead the user to close the page prematurely
(from the creator's viewpoint!).

   SOLUTION: Continue to use big shiny 'eye candy' to attract
people to your web site or application, but monitor the time a user
spends looking at a given page or window.  If a threshold interval is
passed, 'mute' the displayed elements to reduce ocular fatigue.  For
instance, if you have a big banner at the top of the window that uses
bright red on a large chunk of real estate, slowly and gradually
(imperceptibly) degrade and diminish the color (wash it out) to a
'kinder, gentler' hue.

   For a webpage, here's sample code to implement the above
example.
  HTML:
  <BODY ONLOAD="startTimer()">
  <SPAN NAME="VeryRedSection" STYLE="BACKGROUND: #FF0000;
  MUTE: YES" >
  Here's a bunch of text.  I'm reading a lot of text right now,
  and that red background is getting quite annoying!!!!
  </SPAN>
  etc
  JAVASCRIPT:
  startTimer() {
  setTimeOut("muteAll()", 20sec);
  }
  muteAll() { // following is pseudocode
  for each (element) in (document.all.elements):
  - if MUTE=YES
  - mute the element
  startTimer();
  }

   For instance, the abov...