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Flexible web page template building system and method

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20120272141 patent thumbnailZoom

Flexible web page template building system and method


An auto-expanding navigation area for a web page is presented which allows a user to select a number of buttons to be displayed in the navigation area and which automatically identically sizes and displays the selected number of buttons in the navigation area and automatically expands or reduces the navigation area based on the number of buttons.
Related Terms: Page Template

Browse recent Vistaprint Technologies Limited patents - ,
Inventor: Brian D. Hanechak
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120272141 - Class: 715234 (USPTO) - 10/25/12 - Class 715 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120272141, Flexible web page template building system and method.

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This application is a divisional of prior application Ser. No. 12/060,254, filed Mar. 31, 2008, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to creation and design of electronic documents and, more particularly, to flexible web page template building techniques and systems.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Customizable web page templates for designing websites assist people in quickly designing web pages for publishing to a web hosting server.

One of the challenges in designing web page templates whose content may be customized by end users is that the size of the content or amount of text that may be inserted into the editable areas of the web page may vary from user to user. Because a web page generally provides a header area, a navigational area, and a bottom border around editable areas that may be customized by a user, the template design required some knowledge of the size of the editable areas. Previously, this has caused template providers to set a static size editable area, thereby limiting the amount of content that the user can insert in the editable areas.

Another challenge for the designers of web page templates is the desirability of making web page themes work in all types of browsers.

Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a web page generating tool that has a simple user interface and allows a web page designer to create flexible auto-expanding editable areas which grow and shrink based on the amount of content inserted into the editable areas, and to design themes that work in a wide variety of browsers.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the invention are directed to flexible web page template building techniques and systems which allow web page designers to build auto-expanding web pages that grow and shrink according to an amount of user content inserted there.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic representation of a web page template building plugin.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating a network environment in which an embodiment of the invention operates.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating a user computer environment in which an electronic publishing tool may operate.

FIG. 4 is a screen shot view of an example user interface display 400 of an example web page template building tool.

FIG. 5A is an example auto-expanding user-editable content container illustrating application of the guides, in particular with respect to a variation in the vertical direction of content between the guides.

FIG. 5B illustrates the auto-expanding user-editable content container of FIG. 5A where the guides are set to a position which comprises variation in the vertical direction of content between the guides.

FIG. 6A is an example auto-expanding user-editable content container illustrating application of the guides, in particular with respect to a repeating pattern.

FIG. 6B illustrates the auto-expanding user-editable content container of FIG. 6A where the guides are set to a position resulting in a non-repeating pattern.

FIG. 7A illustrates the partitioning of a vertical navigational area to grow and shrink as navigation buttons are added and removed.

FIG. 7B illustrates the partitioning of a horizontal navigational area to grow and shrink as navigation buttons are added and removed.

FIG. 8 is an exemplary table created to describe an outer and inner background of a web page template.

FIG. 9 is an exemplary web page template layout.

FIG. 10 is a diagram illustrating sections of the web page template that are rasterized into separate images.

FIG. 11 is an HTML table illustrating an example web page template.

FIG. 12 is a flowchart of an exemplary embodiment of the operation of an auto-expanding user-editable content container when content is added by an end user.

FIG. 13 is a flowchart of an exemplary embodiment of the operation of an auto-expanding navigational area when navigation buttons are added or removed from a navigational area by an end user.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the invention implement a flexible website template building tool. In an embodiment, an electronic document design tool used to design customized electronic designs which may be published electronically or printed to generate a printed product includes a website template builder add-in which allows a designer to customize a website template based on elements of an electronic design. For example, FIG. 1 shows diagrammatically, an electronic design tool for printed products 2 which receives or creates an electronic version of a printed product design 1. The electronic design tool 2 includes a website add-in control 3 which, when activated, generates a web page template 4 including at least one element from the printed product design 1.

Web page templates 4 may be valuable to website hosting service providers that provide tools to customers to build their websites. Web page templates 4 may also be valuable to designers of electronic, printed, and other types of products who wish to cross-sell a website to a customer of an electronic, printed, or other type of product while retaining some of the design features of the other product.

For example, FIG. 2 illustrates a networked system 10. Client System 11 represents a user\'s computer system, for example, a customer of a website hosting service. Client system 11 is a typically equipped modern personal computer, discussed with reference to FIG. 3, being configured to communicate over the Web and running a modern Web browser program 12. For purposes of discussion, the invention will be described in the context of a personal computer running the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser, but it will be appreciated that the invention can be applied to other browser programs that support HTML, XHTML, DHTML, XML, and other web functionality and to other intelligent devices, such as PDAs capable of running such a browser.

Client 11 communicates with a website hosting service server 20 to set up account information and order website hosting services via the client\'s browser 12. After setting up an account, the website hosting customer may then begin designing and editing their website. In an exemplary embodiment, the website hosting service provides website building tools via website building tools server 30. In an embodiment, the client 11 may download a website building tool 31 to execute in their local browser 12.

The website building tool 31 allows the website hosting services customer to download web page templates (stored in a web page template gallery 40) from the website building tools server 30. Website templates are electronic web page designs that include editable areas to allow the customer to customize text, image, and design content. They typically include a background with or without a design, a header area, a navigational menu area, and one or more user-editable content areas. The website hosting services customer may edit and design a number of customized web pages to form a customized website which may be published to a hosted website database 50. When a web page is published to the hosted websites database 50, a website hosting server 60 will serve web pages of the hosted customized website to other networked clients on the network, such as client 70.

Web page templates may be created by a content designer operating a content provider computer system 80, which may be any conventional computer system, for example, as described in reference to FIG. 3. An electronic document creation and editing application 82 executes on the content provider system 80, either locally, or remotely via a conventional networked configuration (not shown), and allows the content provider to create electronic documents, for example documents that may be printed or viewed on a display. The electronic document creation and editing application 82 may also open and edit previously designed documents. For example, the website hosting sales server 20 may also be an online printed and electronic products retailer which offers products such as business cards, postcards, brochures, etc. to customers, for example client 70. The server 20 may thus provide customizable designs or templates (stored in product template database 42) that may be edited by a customer of the online printed and electronic products retails and then ordered for printing/publishing and delivery to the customer. Customized product designs may be subsequently stored (in a customers customized products database 44) for future access by the retailer to allow the customer to return to the website and reorder the customized products.

The electronic document creation and editing application 82 may itself provide, or may merely provide access to, a web page template building tool 84. For example, a conventional electronic document publishing system may include an add-in or plug-in. A plugin is a computer program that interacts with a host application (for example, the electronic document creation and editing application 82) to provide a function “on demand”. Alternatively, the electronic document creation and editing application 82 may itself implement the functionality for automatically creating web page templates.

The web page template building tool 84 automatically generates web page templates based on electronic documents, the details of which are presented hereinafter.

Turning now to FIG. 3, there is presented an example of a suitable computing system environment 100 which may implement any and all of the clients 11, 70, servers 20, 30, 60, and content provider system 80. The computing system environment 100 is only one example of a suitable computing environment and is not intended to suggest any limitation as to the scope of use or functionality of the invention. Neither should the computing environment 100 be interpreted as having any dependency or requirement relating to any one or combination of components illustrated in the exemplary operating environment 100.

Embodiments of the invention are operational with numerous other general purpose or special purpose computing system environments or configurations. Examples of well known computing systems, environments, and/or configurations that may be suitable for use with the invention include, but are not limited to, personal computers, server computers, hand-held or laptop devices, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor-based systems, set top boxes, programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, distributed computing environments that include any of the above systems or devices, and the like.

Embodiments of the invention, and in particular, the website building tool 31 and its target-alignment-and-drop control 32 integrated therein, may be described in the general context of computer-executable instructions, such as program modules, being executed by a computer. Generally, program modules include routines, programs, objects, components, data structures, etc. that perform particular tasks or implement particular abstract data types. Embodiments of the invention may also be practiced in distributed computing environments where tasks are performed by remote processing devices that are linked through a communications network or other data transmission medium. In a distributed computing environment, program modules and other data may be located in both local and remote computer storage media including memory storage devices.

With reference to FIG. 3, an exemplary system for implementing the invention includes a general purpose computing device in the form of a computer 110. Components of computer 110 may include, but are not limited to, a processing unit 120, a system memory 130, and a system bus 121 that couples various system components including the system memory to the processing unit 120. The system bus 121 may be any of several types of bus structures including a memory bus or memory controller, a peripheral bus, and a local bus using any of a variety of bus architectures.

Computer 110 typically includes a variety of computer readable media. Computer readable media can be any available media that can be accessed by computer 110 and includes both volatile and nonvolatile media, removable and non-removable media. By way of example, and not limitation, computer readable media may comprise computer storage media and communication media. Computer storage media includes volatile and nonvolatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data. Computer storage media includes, but is not limited to, RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CDROM, digital versatile disks (DVD) or other optical disk storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can accessed by computer 110. Communication media typically embodies computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data in a modulated data signal such as a carrier wave or other transport button and includes any information delivery media.

The system memory 130 includes computer storage media in the form of volatile and/or nonvolatile memory such as read only memory (ROM) 131 and random access memory (RAM) 132. A basic input/output system 133 (BIOS), containing the basic routines that help to transfer information between elements within computer 110, such as during start-up, is typically stored in ROM 131. RAM 132 typically contains data and/or program modules that are immediately accessible to and/or presently being operated on by processing unit 120. By way of example, and not limitation, FIG. 3 illustrates operating system 134, application programs 135, other program modules 136, and program data 137.

The computer 110 may also include other removable/non-removable, volatile/nonvolatile computer storage media. By way of example only, FIG. 3 illustrates a hard disk drive 140 that reads from or writes to non-removable, nonvolatile magnetic media, a magnetic disk drive 151 that reads from or writes to a removable, nonvolatile magnetic disk 152, and an optical disk drive 155 that reads from or writes to a removable, nonvolatile optical disk 156, such as a CD ROM or other optical media. Other removable/non-removable, volatile/nonvolatile computer storage media that can be used in the exemplary operating environment include, but are not limited to, magnetic tape cassettes, flash memory cards, digital versatile disks, digital video tape, solid state RAM, solid state ROM, and the like. The hard disk drive 141 is typically connected to the system bus 121 through a non-removable memory interface such as interface 140, and magnetic disk drive 151 and optical disk drive 155 are typically connected to the system bus 121 by a removable memory interface, such as interface 150.

The drives and their associated computer storage media discussed above and illustrated in FIG. 3, provide storage of computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules and other data for the computer 110. In FIG. 3, for example, hard disk drive 141 is illustrated as storing operating system 144, application programs 145, other program modules 146, and program data 147. Note that these components can either be the same as or different from operating system 134, application programs 135, other program modules 136, and program data 137. Operating system 144, application programs 145, other program modules 146, and program data 147 are given different numbers here to illustrate that, at a minimum, they are different copies. A user may enter commands and information into the computer 20 through input devices such as a keyboard 162 and pointing device 161, commonly referred to as a mouse, trackball or touch pad. Other input devices (not shown) may include a microphone, joystick, game pad, satellite dish, scanner, or the like. These and other input devices are often connected to the processing unit 120 through a user input interface 160 that is coupled to the system bus, but may be connected by other interface and bus structures, such as a parallel port, game port or a universal serial bus (USB). A monitor 191 or other type of display device is also connected to the system bus 121 via an interface, such as a video interface 190. In addition to the monitor, computers may also include other peripheral output devices such as speakers 197 and printer 196, which may be connected through an output peripheral interface 190.

The computer 110 may operate in a networked environment using logical connections to one or more remote computers, such as a remote computer 180. The remote computer 180 may be a personal computer, a server, a router, a network PC, a peer device or other common network node, and typically includes many or all of the elements described above relative to the computer 110, although only a memory storage device 181 has been illustrated in FIG. 3. The logical connections depicted in FIG. 3 include a local area network (LAN) 171 and a wide area network (WAN) 173, but may also include other networks. Such networking environments are commonplace in offices, enterprise-wide computer networks, intranets and the Internet.

When used in a LAN networking environment, the computer 110 is connected to the LAN 171 through a network interface or adapter 170. When used in a WAN networking environment, the computer 110 typically includes a modem 172 or other means for establishing communications over the WAN 173, such as the Internet. The modem 172, which may be internal or external, may be connected to the system bus 121 via the user input interface 160, or other appropriate button. In a networked environment, program modules depicted relative to the computer 110, or portions thereof, may be stored in the remote memory storage device. By way of example, and not limitation, FIG. 3 illustrates remote application programs 185 as residing on memory device 181. It will be appreciated that the network connections shown are exemplary and other means of establishing a communications link between the computers may be used.

Referring back to FIG. 2, each web page template in the web page template gallery 40 represents a thematic design of a single page of a website. As previously explained, in order for the website building tool 122 to offer web page templates, such templates must first be created. In one embodiment, electronic document creation and editing application 82, such as Adobe® InDesign, which are intended for design of products to be printed, are utilized to take advantage of content developed for printed products. In an embodiment, the electronic document and editing application 82 is configured with a website plugin which, in accordance with the invention described herein, assists the customer in generating a website template based on a printed or electronic product design.

FIG. 4 is a screen shot view of an example user interface display 400 of an example web page template building tool. For example, the web page template building tool may exist as a standalone application, may be integrated into an electronic document creation and editing application, or may be a plugin to such an application. As illustrated in FIG. 4, the user interface display 400 includes editing controls 401 known and standardly used within electronic document creation and editing applications, and a workspace 402 for designing a web page template 410.

The web page template 410 assumes an 800-wide-pixel displayable page area, but of course it is to be understood that this number may be varied depending on the intended browser and display types, and on future advances in the display technology. The web page template 410 includes an outer background 411 which represents what should appear on a display outside of the 800-wide-pixel displayable page area, and inner background 412 which covers the outer background within the 800-pixel-wide area, a header area 415, a navigational area 420, and at least one auto-expanding user-editable content container 430. In the exemplary embodiment, the header area 415 includes two “headline” areas of text: one for “Company Name” 416 and one for “Company Message” 417. Preferably, while the auto-expanding user-editable content container allows only web-safe fonts, the header area 415 can support non-web-safe fonts, for example fonts that are used in the customer\'s logo or business cards.

In order to maximize the size of text entered in the headline areas 416, 417, the current size of the text entered in the text area is determined using a Rich Text Editor, and the web page template building tool 82 automatically determines an amount to scale the current sized text to make the text the full width of the available text area, and then determines an amount to scale the current sized text to make the text the full height of the available text area. The web page template building tool 82 then selects the smaller of the horizontal scale and vertical scale, scales the user-input text by the smaller selected scale, and replaces the user-input text in the text area with the scaled text.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120272141 A1
Publish Date
10/25/2012
Document #
13541368
File Date
07/03/2012
USPTO Class
715234
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
06F17/24
Drawings
11


Page Template


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