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Browse Prior Art Database

Threaded IM

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000224899D
Original Publication Date: 2013-Jan-10
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2013-Jan-10
Document File: 3 page(s) / 51K

Publishing Venue

Microsoft

Related People

Gavin Smyth: INVENTOR [+4]

Abstract

Some instant messaging (IM) conversations are “single threaded:” user A types a message, B reads and responds, A responds to that, and so on. However, because A might have a lot of topics to discuss, or is just too impatient to wait for B's response, he/she initiates another thread of conversation while B is typing a response to that first message, so the conversation might go: A sends a message on topic T, A starts typing a message on topic U before B’s reply has been seen, B responds to T, A having sent U in the meantime, B responds to U while A responds to T, etc - and there can be many jumps between more than just two topics or further branching. Each user may need to take some time to work out what the context of the most recently received message is, or to work out if he/she has caught up with all topics, leaving no thread dangling. We propose a mechanism for indication of “topic thread” within a conversation and visual indication of the topics.

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Document Author (alias)

Gavin Smyth (gavinsmy)

Defensive Publication Title 

Threaded IM

Name(s) of All Contributors

Gavin Smyth

Eduarda Mendes Rodrigues

Gabriella Kazai

Natasa Milic-Frayling

 

Summary of the Defensive Publication/Abstract

Some instant messaging (IM) conversations are “single threaded:” user A types a message, B reads and responds, A responds to that, and so on. However, because A might have a lot of topics to discuss, or is just too impatient to wait for B's response, he/she initiates another thread of conversation while B is typing a response to that first message, so the conversation might go: A sends a message on topic T, A starts typing a message on topic U before B’s reply has been seen, B responds to T, A having sent U in the meantime, B responds to U while A responds to T, etc - and there can be many jumps between more than just two topics or further branching. Each user may need to take some time to work out what the context of the most recently received message is, or to work out if he/she has caught up with all topics, leaving no thread dangling.

We propose a mechanism for indication of “topic thread” within a conversation and visual indication of the topics.

Description:  Include architectural diagrams and system level data flow diagrams if: 1) they have already been prepared or 2) they are needed to enable another developer to implement your defensive publication. Target 1-2 pages, and not more than 5 pages.  

In our system, typing directly in the IM message composition window is taken to be responding to the most recently received message or message thread, as with any IM system; additionally, however, instead of doing this, the user can click on any previous message to indicate that he/she is responding to that – this automatically labels that earlier message as being part of a thread (if it wasn’t already), for example with a color code or a textual label (which could be just a number, the next in sequence), and labels the new one being typed similarly. The user can assign such a thread identity to a message before it’s sent, rather than tagging an existing message. As a keyboard shortcut convenience, typing CTRL+<digit> will send the current message (equivalent to hitting ENTER or clicking the send button) simultaneously associating it with the thread number <digit>.

By default, messages will be presented in normal temporal order but color-coded to the thread (second figure below). Another representation could be to align messages in columns according to the threads. In addition, a small area in the display for each message could present the thread label (and the CTRL+<digit key> to respond to that thread), perhaps only on hover rather than permanently; the message could have a right click menu containing options to assign a thread [label] to that message, to change the thread for the message, to change the label text or color for that thread to something more meaningful, and to respond to tha...