User Interface Improvements in Computer Telephony Dialing
Original Publication Date: 2002-Sep-24
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
In the innovation described below is outlined a concept to further integrate the computer with telephony devices, simplifying the process of dialing telephone numbers which may be encountered in computer usage, and particularly, in viewing numbers contained within online documents. Many websites, particularly B2C and B2B sites, offer the opportunity to contact the vendor by telephone, and publish the phone number on the web page. There are, of course, many ways to then call that business: one can pick up the phone and dial the number, or use a commercially-available program to store that number and then use off-the-shelf software add-ins to call that number or use the copy/paste features to paste the phone number into a phone dialer program. All of the current methods of picking a phone number off of a web page involve several steps, however. The current art, as outlined in this disclosure, provides a superior and more efficient means of integrating the telephony and computing functions. The invention makes use of the programming features of commercially available operating systems to enable a user to highlight any phone number on the screen, "right-click" it and along with right-click menu items such as Copy and Paste, perform other functions to the highlighted text. Proposed is a mechanism that recognizes a string as a possible phone number and offers the user the ability to dial the highlighted number directly, without a copy/paste operation into another program. The invention would make use of any dialing rules associated with the user's computer's dialing rules (e.g., always use 10-digit dialing for local calls, dial 9 for outside line, etc.) to simplify dialing even further. And the invention would also give the user the opportunity to adjust a number manually before dialing. More specifically, the feature could make use of a TAPI32.DLL facility, or analogous product, to make the call.