Method and Interface for Achieving Aysnchronous, One-to-Many, Drag and Drop
Original Publication Date: 2005-Mar-07
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-07
Drag and drop is an ubiquitous and very natural user interface gesture for applying actions to entities that are represented in the interface. However, this gesture must often be repeated when applied to multiple entities, and it isn't possible to drag from one interface to another, where navigation to the second interface must be performed after the drag action (i.e., the drop cannot be completed without interrupting the drag). This disclosure describes a method and display for overcoming these limitations.
Method and Interface for Achieving Aysnchronous, One -to-Many, Drag and Drop
The method and interface described by this disclosure includes a 'drag suspension zone', a visible area of the screen where any drag can be suspended indefinitely, while the user employs the mouse for any other tasks, like navigating to another screen. At any point the user can re-grab the suspended drag and pull it to the desired location, whereupon the drop action can complete the drag and drop sequence. In one implementation, when the user re-grabs a suspended drag, they can either grab it by clicking the left mouse button, which removes the suspended drag from the drag zone, or with the right mouse button, which leaves a copy of the suspended drag, which can later be dragged and dropped elsewhere. This allows a one-to-many drag and drop, as one 'drag' is applied to many 'drops'. Further, in many contexts, the drop gesture provides greater control over placement, than its analog, the 'paste' action; this is a real advantage, since users will often need to follow a paste action with a drag and drop, or selection followed by movement via arrows keys, in order to place the copied or moved content where desired.
The initial element of the drag and drop sequence is performed according to current art (the move vs copy options apply); the user selects some element on the screen, and, with the left mouse button depressed, begins to drag the element. If the target of the drag is not visible, and/or if the element being dragged will be dropped on more than one target, the user drags the element to the drag suspension zone, a temporary, or permanent area of the interface (such as a pale...