Technique for Displaying File Icon Status within the Original File Icon Image in High Color Depth Environments
Original Publication Date: 2000-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Graphical user interface applications often represent files with icons in various views such as trees, tables, etc. Similarly, products like IBM WebSphere Studio have views which show files and file relationships. In WebSphere Studio a user can associate an editor of their choice for different file types. WebSphere then associates the icon of the editing application, identified by the file-type registry entries, with the appropriate file in the user's project. For example if a user defines PageDesigner as their default html editor, then the PageDesigner icon will appear next to all html files. In addition to this icon, Studio also adds other visual cues next to the file's icon which indicate various file attributes and/or status: publish state, source control state and workflow state called "file status". This array of icons can create quite a cluttered view. Currently, the user selects a color to indicate the status of a file. In the appropriate color, next to the file type icon, is a colored bar which denotes the file's status. In an attempt to simplify the view we chose to modify this file status indicator. The new approach involves shifting the color of the file's icon to reflect status. This makes the overall view less cluttered and status more easily distinguishable from other file attributes. However, in achieving this effect we encountered some technical problems. In theory, the user should be able to select virtually any purely saturated color (which excludes black, grays, and white) to represent any particular file status. However, because of the limitations of some personal computer monitors and display cards, not all possible colors are available. Furthermore, depending on the color selected, the resulting mix between the icon bitmap and status color can be unreadable. For example, selecting blue as a file status indicator for a file with a predominately blue icon, may yield an almost solid, blue splotch in the shape of the icon's mask. These are the two problems our proposal solves. Our proposed technique allows users to select almost any purely saturated color to apply to an icon. This works because the user's selected color is altered so that, when mixed with the icon, the icon is still readable while also being tinted with the status color. This status color is altered by snapping its saturation value to be below 20% and its intensity value to be above 66%.