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Method of navigating huge lists of items on graphical user interface using hierarchical labels representing groups of similar items as navigation hints/anchors

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000237878D
Publication Date: 2014-Jul-17

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This publication discloses a method of navigating a long list of items in a user interface in a convenient way by using dynamic labels to recursively step into sublist of currently visible list. Each label represents common prefix of all items in it's sublist. The article discloses an algorithm for choosing such labels that the sizes of sublists associated with each label are optimized to be as balanced as possible. The amount of labels displayed can be limited by any number, which typically would be the maximum amount of labels that could be displayed on the user interface.

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Method of navigating huge lists of items on graphical user interface using hierarchical labels representing groups of similar items as navigation hints /

/anchors

anchors

Presenting huge lists of textual items (e.g. 1000 or more items) on graphic user interface in a way that it's easy navigable is challenging. For example when application requires user to select some item from drop-down list (combo-box) and the list if items is significantly larger than the size of the drop-down list or any other list-alike UI widget (the size is constrained by the screen size, application window size etc.) the process of finding the item and choosing it from that list is cumbersome. Because the list is large (thousands of elements) the UI list widget can show only few items (e.g. 20, 50, etc.). Therefore the majority of items is hidden. Also most user interfaces provide the scroll capability on that list - so scrolling the list moves the "sliding window" of visible items over the total list. However if the list is large the scrolling can be difficult because:

● the scroll handle is usually very small (typically inverse proportionally to the total number of items)

and

● the scroll step is very big (e.g. moving the scroll handle even by 1-pixel causes large
"jumps" over the list of items.

That's why reviewing the whole list to learn what elements are in the list is cumbersome and simply difficult. The Figure 1 shows example list of items to present (the real lists may be thousands elements long) and the Figure 2 shows typical UI list widget that tries to show such list. Some applications offer dynamic filtering of the list that can help to solve the problem of finding the desired item. However filtering requires user to know a priori what he/she is looking for.

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The total list of items

Aparatus_A01 Aparatus_A02 Aparatus_A03 Aparatus_A04 Appendix
Application AppServer_01 AppServer_02 AppServer_03 ComputerSystem_A01 ComputerSystem_A02 ComputerSystem_A03 ComputerSystem_A04 ComputerSystem_B01 ComputerSystem_B02 ComputerSystem_B03 ComputerServer_01 ComputerServer_02 ComputerServer_03 IPAddress_01 ZSystem_01 ZSystem_02 ZSystem_03 ZSystem_04 ZSystem_05 ZSystem_06 ZSystem_07 ZSystem_08 ZSystem_09 ZSystem_11 ZSystem_12 ZSystem_13 ZSystem_14

Figure 1: The original list of items

The list widget

Scroll handle is very small

Small moves of
the handle cause large jumps over list

Aparatus_A01 Aparatus_A02 Aparatus_A03 Aparatus_A04 Appendix Application AppServer_01 AppServer_02 AppServer_03 ComputerSystem_A01 ComputerSystem_A02 ComputerSystem_A03

Figure 2: The list widget showing all items

This method tries to address the problem of navigating huge lists of items on the graphic user

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interface by providing additional labels representing groups of similar items on the list. The

groups are selected by analyzing common prefixes of all items and choosing appropriate prefixes as group names so they will represent the clusters of similar...