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Color labeling in a graphical user interface

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Color labeling in a graphical user interface


A method for providing visual cues to a user of a graphical user interface (GUI) for a computer system is disclosed. The visual cues indicate a relationship with an icon having text and/or image elements. In some embodiments, the method receives a color for labeling an icon that has a text-element and an image-element. The method applies the color to a background-region of the text-element of the icon without applying the color to the image-element. In some embodiments, the method does not affect the font of the text. In some embodiments, the method receives a selection of an icon. The icon has a background-region that has a first color. The method changes the first color of the background-region to a second color but retains the first color in a section of the background-region. In some of these embodiments, the method outlines the section of the background-region with a third color.

Inventor: Imran Chaudhri
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120284656 - Class: 715765 (USPTO) - 11/08/12 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >On-screen Workspace Or Object >Customizing Multiple Diverse Workspace Objects

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120284656, Color labeling in a graphical user interface.

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FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention concerns the field of graphical user interfaces for computer systems. Specifically, the invention is directed towards methods for providing visual cues and color labeling in a graphical user interface (GUI).

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A computer operating system or application program can provide different views of a computer system\'s contents to a user through a GUI. Three such views in a GUI are an icon view, a list view, and a column view. In each view, icons are typically used to represent the computer system\'s contents. A computer system\'s contents are typically organized in a hierarchical “file system” of nested folders (directories) and files. An icon in the GUI can have two components, an image component and a text component. The icons are presented to a user of the GUI in different visual formats in each view (icon, list, or column view). The different visual formats are designed to present information in ways that facilitate understanding and manipulation of their contents. However, manipulation of the icons and views can alter the icon\'s appearance and thus obscure the icon\'s visual information. Also, the volume of information presented in each view of a file system can be large such that a high demand is placed on the attention and concentration of the user of the GUI.

As such, there is a need for a method of providing visual cues for interacting with icons that, for example, represent folders and files presented in a GUI.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides a method for providing visual cues to a user of a graphical user interface (GUI) for a computer system. In some embodiments, the method receives a color for labeling an icon that has a text-element and an image-element. The method applies the color to a background-region of the text-element of the icon without applying the color to the image-element. In some embodiments, the method does not affect the font of the text.

In some embodiments, the method receives a selection of an icon. The icon has a background-region that has a first color. The method changes the first color of the background-region to a second color but retains the first color in a section of the background-region. In some of these embodiments, the method outlines the section of the background-region with a third color.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. However, for purpose of explanation, several embodiments of the invention are set forth in the following figures.

FIG. 1 illustrates a window in a GUI. The window presents an “icon-view” illustration of icons represented in the GUI.

FIG. 2 illustrates a window after a folder icon and a document icon have been color labeled according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a window that presents an icon-view illustration of a folder AppleScript.

FIG. 4 illustrates a window after selection of an icon for a Remove Script Menu program.

FIG. 5 illustrates a window after a button has been selected and its associated drop-down menu has been opened.

FIG. 6 illustrates a selection of a color icon representing the color Green.

FIG. 7 illustrates application of the color Green to the text element of an icon for a Remove Script Menu program.

FIG. 8 illustrates a window of FIG. 1 after a user selects a color-labeled document icon.

FIG. 9 illustrates a window of FIG. 1 having a non-white pane.

FIG. 10 illustrates a window of FIG. 1 after a user selects a color-labeled document icon.

FIG. 11 illustrates a window in a GUI. This window provides a “list-view” illustration of the contents of a folder.

FIG. 12 illustrates a window after a document has been color-labeled according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 13 illustrates a window after a color-labeled icon has been selected.

FIG. 14 shows that a section that retains its color-label might be a section along the border of the background-region.

FIG. 15 illustrates an embodiment where the label-color of an icon is no longer visible because the background-region color changes to a selection-color after it has been selected.

FIG. 16 illustrates a window in a GUI. This window provides a “column-view” illustration of a nested file structure in terms of two nested columns.

FIG. 17 illustrates a window of FIG. 16 after selection and opening of a folder in a column of a column-view.

FIG. 18 illustrates a window after a user has defined a color label to an icon that represents a document in an open folder.

FIG. 19 illustrates a window after a user selects an icon.

FIG. 20 illustrates an embodiment where a section along the border of the background-region retains its color-label.

FIG. 21 illustrates an embodiment where the background-region of a selected-icon has a color that is different than this region\'s label-color, which was illustrated in FIG. 19.

FIG. 22 illustrates an embodiment where an image element of an icon is not distorted or deprecated, in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 23 illustrates an embodiment where a label-color and a selection-color are applied to a text-element without being applied to an image-element of an icon.

FIG. 24 illustrates an embodiment a selection-color and white-outline are applied to an icon that has not been color-labeled.

FIG. 25 illustrates an embodiment where selection of an icon changes the font-color of a text-element to white.

FIG. 26 illustrates a computer system and computer readable medium with which some embodiments of the present invention are implemented.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, numerous details are set forth for purposes of explanation. However, one of ordinary skill in the art will realize that the invention may be practiced without the use of these specific details. In other instances, well-known structures and devices are shown in block diagram form in order not to obscure the description of the invention with unnecessary detail.

I. DEFINITIONS

A graphical user interface (“GUI”) is an interface of a computer system that allows users to interact with the computer system through images and text. A GUI allows users of the computer system to interact with the computer system in an intuitive graphical manner. Instead of learning and writing complex command languages, users can perform many operations by simply interacting with the visual components of a GUI, which are often easy to understand. A GUI often includes a cursor pointer, icons, desktop, windows, etc. The cursor pointer (the “cursor”) is a pointer that a user can move across the GUI through the operation of a cursor controller, such as a mouse, a trackpad, trackball, etc. A user can use the cursor to select objects in the GUI. For instance, the user can select an object by directing the cursor to the object and performing a click operation (e.g., through a button of the cursor controller).

Icons are examples of selectable objects in a GUI. Icons are used to represent folders, files, commands, etc. in the GUI. An icon can be represented by a text element, an image element, or both text and image elements in the GUI. The desktop refers to the contents on a display screen below any windows. A window is an area on the display screen that displays its own file, message, application, etc. independently of other windows that are displayed on the display screen.

A color, as used herein, can be any color of the visible light spectrum. A Macintosh computer, for example, can output to a display, millions of colors and can output thousands of different shades of gray. As used in this application, two colors are different colors when they are two different colors in the spectrum of visible light, or are two different shades of the same color.

A file, as used herein, is an elemental data object within a file system. A file can contain various types of data. For example, a file can contain executable data as part of an application program or as part of the operating system. A file may also contain data that was created by an application. A file created by an application may also be referred to as a document. Thus, a user of a computer system GUI may open an application by selecting and opening an executable file that runs an application, such as a word-processor. Then the user may operate the word-processor to create a document file.

A folder, as used herein, is an icon that represents a directory in a hierarchical file system. A folder can contain other folders or files. The hierarchy of a file system is created when folders are nested inside other folders.

A volume, as used herein, is a logical partition on a single computer storage device or across several computer storage devices. For example, a volume can be comprised of a single hard disk. As another example, a volume can be comprised of a redundant array of independent disks (RAID). A volume is typically used to store the folders and files of a hierarchical file system.

II. OVERVIEW

The invention provides a method for providing visual cues related to the selection and color-labeling of icons in a GUI. In some embodiments, the method receives a color for labeling an icon that has a text-element and an image-element. The method applies the color to a background-region of the text-element of the icon without applying the color to the image-element. In some embodiments, the method does not affect the font of the text. In some embodiments, the background-region has a shape and the color is applied to the shape.

In some embodiments, the method receives a selection of an icon. The icon has a background-region that has a first color. The method changes the first color of the background-region to a second color but retains the first color in a section of the background-region. In some of these embodiments, the method outlines the section of the background-region with a third color.

Some embodiments of the invention may be implemented in a computer operating system that presents different views of a file system to aid in comprehension of the data presented. Three such views are an icon view, a list view, and a column view. In some embodiments, the icon-view presents the contents of a folder or volume in terms of a number of freestanding icons that can be moved around the window. In the icon-view, icons are presented with both their image and text elements. For icons with only one element, that element is presented in the GUI. Icon-view is useful for viewing the image element of the icon, as the image element is presented in its largest form in icon-view. Icon-view is also useful for file and folder manipulation such as a drag-and-drop operation, as the icon is large and easily selected using a cursor controller.

In some embodiments, the list-view presents the contents of a folder as a set of icons in a single-column format. List-view is useful for displaying the detailed information about objects in the file system. List-view is often used to view several icons representing objects in the file system in a sorted and ordered single-column list. Icons in list-view can be shown with their graphic elements reduced in size or without their graphic elements to enhance comprehension of the detailed information presented.

Column-view is similar to list view, except that column view can be used to show multiple nested objects at once in several columns side-by-side. For example, the contents of a folder in a first column can be shown in a second column to the right of the first column. The contents of a folder in the second column can be shown in a third column to the right of the second column, and so forth. By placing several columns containing nested objects from left to right in a single window of the GUI, column view can be used to show the nested structure of a hierarchical file system.

Some embodiments of the invention that apply color-labeling to icons presented inan icon-view, a list-view, and column-view illustrations are described below.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120284656 A1
Publish Date
11/08/2012
Document #
13464930
File Date
05/04/2012
USPTO Class
715765
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
06F3/048
Drawings
18



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