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A method for allowing easier navigation during drag and drop in a large diagram

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129297D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Oct-05
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-05
Document File: 6 page(s) / 141K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a method that solves the problem with drag and drop within a large diagram by allowing changing zoom rate during drag and drop, using special key combinations. One key combo will allow you to zoom out in order to quickly get to the vicinity of the target location. Another key allows you to zoom in to be able to pin-point the exact drop location.

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A method for allowing easier navigation during drag and drop in a large diagram

In today's desktop applications there are many systems that render large diagrams with moveable nodes/sections. Many of them allow free-form layout of the elements in the diagram. A typical way to re-locate element(s) is by drag-and-drop. A user selects the target element(s), holds the mouse key, drags it and moves in the diagram towards the new location, at which point the user releases the mouse key and drop the element(s) at the new location.

Problem is, when the diagram is large, so that the current window can only display a small portion of the diagram, users will have to push the diagram window to scroll to get to the new location. This often becomes a cumbersome experience with large diagrams. Sometimes it easily becomes bad enough that a user would have to give up the current drag and drop and start over.

There are certain things that may help with the situation to certain extent but are far from ideal or useful for all situations. For instance, before initiating the drag and drop operation, use zoom in/out features that most diagram editors/renderers offer to first identify the drop location, take note in mind regarding the location that is relative to the current location, then go back to an appropriate zoom rate that allows for easy identification of the subject elements (for instance, for a class diagram editor the zoom rate needs to be large enough to read the texts to identify the subject elements) and start dragging them toward that direction. The problem with this approach is that it often takes going back and forth between source and target locations and also zooming in and out to get a good idea of the route to take.

But even with the above approach the user is still stuck with the starting zoom rate during drag and drop, which is necessary to identify the subject elements, but is too large to allow for a overall assessment of your current location and where exactly the target is.

Below is the detailed description of the disclosed method.

The scenario start...