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Utilizing Heading Elements as Placeholders to Improve Content Navigation in a Small-Screen Browser

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131914D
Publication Date: 2005-Nov-21
Document File: 5 page(s) / 247K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

When using a computing device that has a small screen such as a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), cellular phone or other handheld computing device, it is difficult for the user to easily view content such as Web pages. Such content is typically designed for a large screen such as those provided with a desktop computing system. One solution is to render the content so the width fits the small screen so a user does not have to scroll horizontally. The disadvantage of this approach is that the user often has to scroll downwards through a great deal of content at the top of the page such as banner advertisements, menus and other graphics to get to the content of interest. Thus there is a need for a system and method to allow a user to rapidly jump to the content of interest. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a better understanding of the present invention, and to show more clearly how it may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying drawings which aid in understanding an embodiment of the present invention and in which: Figure 1 is a block diagram of a personal computer device interfacing with multiple content providers; Figure 2 is a block diagram of the components that implement an embodiment of the present invention on a personal computing device; Figure 3 is a flowchart of the logic used to identify heading elements; and Figure 4 is a flowchart of the logic of a scrolling control. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION Referring first to Figure 1, a block diagram of a personal computer device interfacing with multiple content providers is illustrated. Figure 1 illustrates three main components, personal computing device 10, content providers 12 and network 14. Personal computing device 10 may be any computing device with a small screen, such as a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or a cell phone. Content providers 12 deliver content to personal computing device 10. An example of a content provider 12 would be a Web server. Requests for content from personal computing device 10 are sent via a wireless connection to network 14. We refer to the use of a wireless connection as computing devices with relatively small screens typically make use of wireless connections to obtain content. However, it is not the intent of the inventors to restrict the network to being wireless. For example a small screen device on a desktop phone hardwired to a network may make use of the present invention. Network 14 may be any network capable of receiving a request from personal computing device 10 and returning content to personal computing device 10. Network 14 passes the request for content to a content provider 12 by a communication protocol common to both. Content provider 12 returns the requested content to network 14 which then passes it to personal computing device 10. A typical example of content would be a Web page, but may include any form of data requested by personal computing device 10. Continuing with our example of a content provider 12 being a Web server providing Web pages, we now refer to Figure 2. Figure 2 is a block diagram of the components that implement an embodiment of the present invention on a personal computing device. In this example there are four main components contained within a browser 20. Content fetcher 22 receives content and passes it to parser 24 as needed. Parser 24 scans the content from content fetcher 22 and parses it to store information on the content. The content is then passed to page viewer 26 which renders the content to a format that allows the content to be displayed on the screen of personal computing device 10. Scrolling control 28 makes use of the information stored by parser 24 to allow the user to quickly jump to specific sections of the content displayed by page viewer 26. Scrolling control 28 provides feedback to page viewer 26 to display a portion of the content selected by a user of personal computing device 10. Referring now to Figure 3 a flowchart of the logic used to identify heading elements is shown. Parser 24 obtains content from content fetcher 22 and scans it looking for heading elements. In the case of a Web page a heading element would be the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) elements H1 to H6. These elements define headings and provide logical jumping points when scrolling through a Web page. The example of HTML is not meant by the inventors to restrict parser 24 solely to HTML elements, any elements within content that define a block within the content may be parsed and stored. As each portion of content is parsed a test is made at step 30 to determine if the portion has a heading element, if not, processing returns to parser 24 and the next portion is parsed. If it is determined at step 30 that a heading element has been found, processing moves to step 32 where the position of the heading element within the content is stored. Once step 32 is completed processing returns to parser 24. This process involving steps 30 and 32 continues until the entire content provided by content fetcher 22 has been parsed. Referring now to Figure 4 a flowchart of the logic of a scrolling control is shown. Beginning at step 34 a user views the content displayed by page viewer 26. While viewing content the user may press a “hot key” to jump to the next heading element. A “hot key” may be implemented in any number of ways in the user interface of personal computing device 10. One such implementation would be a specific physical key or input device that is enabled when browsing content and allows the user to jump to the next heading element. A hot key may also be implemented as an option in the display where the user selects that option to make the jump. If the hot key is selected processing moves to step 36 where a test is made to determine if a heading element exists in the data stored by parser 24 (see step 32 of Figure 3). If not, no action is taken and control returns to step 34. If a heading element exists, processing moves to step 38 where the data stored by parser 24 is examined to determine the next heading element. Processing then moves to step 40 where a test is made to determine if a next heading element was found. If not, processing moves to step 42 where page viewer 26 (see Figure 2) is instructed to display the content beginning with the first heading element and then control returns to step 34. If at step 40 a next heading element is located processing moves to step 44 where page viewer 26 is instructed to scroll the display to show the next heading element and then processing returns to step 34. The process of Figure 4 continues until the user selects different content from browser 20.

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Improved Content Navigation In A Small-Screen Browser

Utilizing Heading Elements as Placeholders to Improve Content Navigation in a Small-Screen Browser

Disclosed Anonymously

When using a computing device that has a small screen such as a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), cellular phone or other handheld computing device, it is difficult for the user to easily view content such as Web pages.  Such content is typically designed for a large screen such as those provided with a desktop computing system.  One solution is to render the content so the width fits the small screen so a user does not have to scroll horizontally.  The disadvantage of this approach is that the user often has to scroll downwards through a great deal of content at the top of the page such as banner advertisements, menus and other graphics to get to the content of interest. 

Thus there is a need for a system and method to allow a user to rapidly jump to the content of interest. 

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the present invention, and to show more clearly how it may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying drawings which aid in understanding an embodiment of the present invention and in which:

Figure 1 is a block diagram of a personal computer device interfacing with multiple content providers;

Figure 2 is a block diagram of the components that implement an embodiment of the present invention on a personal computing device;

Figure 3 is a flowchart of the logic used to identify heading elements; and

Figure 4 is a flowchart of the logic of a scrolling control.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Referring first to Figure 1, a block diagram of a personal computer device interfacing with multiple content providers is illustrated.  Figure 1 illustrates three main components, personal computing device 10, content providers 12 and network 14.  Personal computing device 10 may be any computing device with a small screen, such as a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or a cell phone.  Content providers 12 deliver content to personal computing device 10.  An example of a content provider 12 would be a Web server.  Requests for content from personal computing device 10 are sent via a wireless connection to network 14.  We refer to the use of a wireless connection as computing devices with relatively small screens typically make use of wireless connections to obtain content.  However, it is not the intent of the inventors to restrict the network to being wireless.  For example a small screen device on a desktop phone hardwired to a network may make use of the present invention.  Network 14 may be any network capable of receiving a request from personal computing device 10 and returning content to personal computing device 10.  Network 14 passes the request for content to a content provider 12 by a communication protocol common to both.  Content provider 12 returns the requ...