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System and Method for Instant Messaging Prompt and Notification Enhancements

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000126238D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Jul-10
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jul-10
Document File: 2 page(s) / 34K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This paper describes a method for timely and graduated notification of inactive windows consisting of Instant messages, applications, dialog prompts, or other "windows." It describes a method which allows varying degrees of and differing methods of notification techniques such that urgency or importance can be applied to the messages or applications which require more attention than others.

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System and Method for Instant Messaging Prompt and Notification Enhancements

When using Instant Messaging applications, users often delay replying to a contact for various reasons, leaving the IM window unattended. Oftentimes users forget that they have not replied to a contact. This paper proposes a method of increasing notification to instant messaging windows which would imply a level of importance or urgency to the user that the contact has not been replied to for a length of time.

There are several means of indicating a level of urgency or importance of unseen IM windows. The first method involves associating colors with a time frame. These can be default settings in the application which can be turned on or off or modified by the user. Different colors would represent different time frames - the concept being that the user will be able to see how long he or she has failed to reply with just a glance. The IM window will flash in the color determined by the time frame in which the window has been left unattended. This method would allow the user to select different colors to represent different time frames. For example, the default settings could be as follows:

Green - time frame of 10 minutes

          Yellow - time frame of 10 - 30 minutes
Red - time frame of 30+ minutes although both the color and the time frame is configurable by the user.

The second method involves the rate of the flash of the icon in the task tray. This is of particular use to users suffering from color blindness because the same visual indication of the amount of time the window has been unattended is accomplished by the rate at which the window flashes rather than using colors exclusively. For example the default settings could be as follows:

          1 flash every 3 seconds - time frame of 10 minutes 1 flash every second - time frame of 10 - 30 minutes 3 flashes every second - time frame of 30+ minutes From this the user can see that any IM window flashing red or flashing quickly should really be high priority.

Another feature of this invention is the ability for the user's computer to display a prompt if an IM window has not been tended to for "x" number of minutes. This third method of notification can be implemented as either a dialog or by restoring the IM window but not bringing focus to the window so that the user is not inter...