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Differential Time Compression On Timeline Charts As A Way To Conserve Space While Preserving Vital Characteristics Of The Data

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000200539D
Publication Date: 2010-Oct-18
Document File: 3 page(s) / 32K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for manipulating the view in a timeline by inserting active vertical bars in the graph which allow the user to de-emphasize less variable time portions by horizontally compressing them. This can be done either manually or through an algorithm designed for this purpose.

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Differential Time Compression On Timeline Charts As A Way To Conserve Space While Preserving Vital Characteristics Of The Data

In applications that display timelines, often the amount of time displayed can be lengthy and the amount of time represented by the distance between each horizontal tick mark is constant, which results in a chart that cannot display all of the data in a single view. The user is then forced to horizontally scroll in order to see all of the data.

One obvious way to get all of the data into a single view is to reduce the horizontal size of the graph, decreasing the distance between each data point, until it fits in the desired area. However this can either hide or de-emphasize important variations in the data by compressing highly variable time portions and making the variability not salient.

In many situations it would be more desirable to compress time portions with little or no variability and leave the more variable portions intact.

The current invention proposes a way to better fit a timeline graph in a given view space by de-emphasizing less variable time portions by horizontally compressing them. This is accomplished either manually by the end user or in an automated fashion with system software.

Figure 1 shows a normal graph of a timeline. This is a current day type of timeline in that the amount of time represented by the distance between each horizontal tick mark is constant.

Figure 1: Normal timeline graph.

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To implement the solution and render the data in a graph that is viewable without scrolling across the screen, the user:

1. Invokes a context menu at a location in the chart where they wish to insert a vertical gray divider bar for compression

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2. Selects an option that inserts the bar (e.g., Insert sizer-bar here). This is just one of the methods by which a user inserts a bar. Other methods could include a button-click or key combination on the keyboard.

3. Uses the mouse cursor to click and hold the bar

4. Moves the bar to the left in order to compress the part of the timeline that is not needed in the view, while simultaneously stretching the part of the timeline to the right of the bar

5. Adds a second bar on the right side of the chart

6. Uses the mouse cursor to click and hold the second (right) bar

7. Moves the bar to the right in order to compress the information on the right end of the graph

8. Repeats the process, adding as m...