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Reducing screen glare using adaptive background adjustment

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129848D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Oct-07
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 3 page(s) / 68K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This disclosure describes an approach to reduce screen glare using adaptive adjustment of an application's appearance. When using an interactive graphical application, there are times when the user is only interested in a subset of the screen area, so the surrounding areas are effectively less important for their work (at that point in time). By utilising the variation in importance to the user of the different areas of the screen, this invention proposes the reduction of screen glare by reducing the brightness of the work area with increasing distance from the current centre of the users attention.

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Reducing screen glare using adaptive background adjustment

Many computer users suffer some level of discomfort from eye strain as a result of long exposure times in front of a visual display unit (VDU). This problem is often worse for users using software like word-processing applications for most of the day, where the main work area is almost entirely white; the computer screen is effectively a big white torch directed towards the users face. Current solutions are:
1) to reduce the brightness of the whole screen (hardware) - whilst more comfortable to look at, this can actually reduce the clarity of text on the screen, and sometimes cannot easily be adjusted on laptop devices.
2) fit additional 'filter' hardware to the front of the screen to influence the brightness and contrast (hardware) - same cons as point 1 above.
3) to use alternative colours for the interface (software) - deviating from the goal of a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface.

    When using interactive graphical applications, there are times when the user is only interested in a subset of the screen area, so the surrounding areas are effectively less important for their work (at that point in time). An example of this would be when typing a paragraph in a word processing application: the user is mainly looking at the current cursor position and the text immediately surrounding it,
i.e. the paragraph block. By utilising the variation in importance to the user of the different areas of the screen, this invention proposes the reduction of screen glare by decreasing the brightness of the application area (which is almost always a predominately white background) with increasing distance away from the current focus of the users attention - thereby "fading out" the brightness of the screen with distance from the current cursor location.

The invention has advantages over the existing solutions to screen glare since:
1) the users preferred brightness and contrast settings are retained for the screen area that they are currently working on - providing optimal viewing conditions in the current area of interest.
2) the invention can be implemented within software, avoiding the need to fit any additional hardware - so suitable for all display types.
3) the behaviour does not deviate from the goal of a WYSIWYG interface.
4) the behaviour can be implemented on single-colour displays just as effectively as full-colour systems.

    Taking the example of a word processing application, the majority of the screen area is almost always bright white. With this approach, all of the screen is effectively being given the same importance. However, this quite often won't be the case, with a user only focusing their attention on a subset of the screen area; that which they are currently interacting with. This invention proposes the adaptive adjustment of the graphical display based on its potential importance to the user.

    By reducing the brightness of the work area (most importantly any brig...