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System and method for dynamically changing the content of an internet web page

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System and method for dynamically changing the content of an internet web page


A host Web page includes an evolving interactive dialog box wherein an Internet user may enter user data to be processed. When the user completes entering user data in a first revolution of the interactive dialog box, the first revolution is replaced with a second revolution of the evolving interactive dialog box without disturbing or affecting any other part of the host Web page being displayed. Beneficially, the first and second revolutions may be communicated to a user computer together with and at a same time as the host Web page. Also, the second revolution may include a variety of data which is selected or customized to match the user data submitted in the first revolution. Each revolution of the evolving interactive dialog box may be comprised of any combination of general textual data entry fields, category (pull-down) menus, contact information data entry fields, and opt-in/opt-out buttons.

Ebay Inc. - Browse recent Ebay patents - San Jose, CA, US
Inventors: STONE J. MELET, TODD B. MELET
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120317502 - Class: 715760 (USPTO) - 12/13/12 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >Mark Up Language Interface (e.g., Html)

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120317502, System and method for dynamically changing the content of an internet web page.

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CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a Continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/887,051, filed Sep. 21, 2010, which application is a Continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/964,470, filed Dec. 26, 2007, which is a Continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/393,398, filed Mar. 30, 2006, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,693,937, which is a Continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/090,024, filed Mar. 28, 2005, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,233,973, which is a Continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/824,648, filed Apr. 4, 2001, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,917,961, which is a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/537,569, filed Mar. 30, 2000 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,615,238, which applications are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1) Field of the Invention

This invention pertains to the field of the Internet and, more specifically, to a system and method for communicating information over the Internet.

2) Description of the Related Art

To facilitate understanding of the background and preferred embodiments of the invention, the following terms and acronyms are used through this specification:

Client-Server. A model of interaction in a distributed computer system in which a program at one site sends a request to a program at another site and waits for a response. The requesting program is called the “client,” and the program which responds to the request is called the “server.” In the context of the World Wide Web (discussed below), the client is a “Web browser” (or simply “browser”) which runs on a computer of a user; the program which responds to browser requests by serving Web pages is commonly referred to as a “Web server.”

Dialog Box. A window or box that appears on a display screen to present information and request user input or user data.

Hyperlink. A navigational link from one document to another, or from one portion (or component) of a document to another. Typically, a hyperlink is displayed as a highlighted word or phrase that can be selected by clicking on it using a mouse to jump to the associated document or documented portion.

Hypertext System. A computer-based informational system in which documents (and possibly other types of data entities) are linked together via hyperlinks to form a user-navigable “Web.”

Internet. A collection of interconnected (public and/or private) networks that are linked together by a set of standard protocols (such as TCP/IP and HTTP) to form a global, distributed network. (While this term is intended to refer to what is now commonly known as the Internet, it is also intended to encompass variations which may be made in the future, including changes and additions to existing standard protocols.)

World Wide Web (“Web”). Used herein to refer generally to both (i) a distributed collection of interlinked, user-viewable hypertext documents (commonly referred to as Web documents or Web pages) that are accessible via the Internet, and (ii) the client and server software components which provide user access to such documents using standardized Internet protocols. Currently, the primary standard protocol for allowing applications to locate and acquire Web documents is HTTP, and the Web pages are encoded using HTML. However, the terms “Web” and “World Wide Web” are intended to encompass future markup languages and transport protocols which may be used in place of (or in addition to) HTML and HTTP.

Web Site. A computer system that serves informational content over a network using the standard protocols of the World Wide Web. Typically, a Web site corresponds to a particular Internet domain name, such as “ASKFORFREE.COM®,” and includes the content associated with a particular organization. As used herein, the term is generally intended to encompass both (i) the hardware/software server components that serve the informational content over the network, and (ii) the “back end” hardware/software components, including any non-standard or specialized components, that interact with the server components to perform services for Web site users.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language). A standard coding convention and set of codes for attaching presentation and linking attributes to informational content within documents. (HTML 2.0 is currently the primary standard used for generating Web documents.) During a document authoring stage, the HTML codes (referred to as “tags”) are embedded within the informational content of the document. When the Web document (or HTML document) is subsequently transferred from a Web server to a browser, the codes are interpreted by the browser and used to parse and display the document. Additionally in specifying how the Web browser is to display the document, HTML tags can be used to create links to other Web documents (commonly referred to as “hyperlinks”). For more information on HTML, see Ian S. Graham, The HTML Source Book, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1995 (ISBN 0471-11894-4).

HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol). The standard World Wide Web client-server protocol used for the exchange of information (such as HTML documents, and client requests for such documents) between a browser and a Web server. HTTP includes a number of different types of messages which can be sent from the client to the server to request different types of server actions. For example, a “GET” message, which has the format GET, causes the server to return the document or file located at the specified URL (see below).

URL (Uniform Resource Locator). A unique address which fully specifies the location of a file or other resource on the Internet. The general format of a URL is protocol://machine address:port/path/filename. The port specification is optional, and if none is entered by the user, the browser defaults to the standard port for whatever service is specified as the protocol. For example, if HTTP is specified as the protocol, the browser will use the HTTP default port of 80.

DHTML (Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language). An enhanced version of HTML which includes dynamic presentation features such as cascading style sheets (CSS), which enhance a Web page designer\'s control over the placement of specific elements in a Web page.

There is a constant challenge for Internet Web site operators to attract visitors and to create “stickiness” and build loyalty to their Web sites. Accordingly, in an effort to build and maintain visitor loyalty, Web site operators provide a variety of services to their visitors via the site\'s Web pages. Such services may include opinion polls, surveys, contests in which the Web site visitors may participate, and “help” and “contact us” services where a visitor may obtain additional information or communicate feedback with a Web site operator.

In the past, such services have been made available to visitors through hyperlinks, such as buttons, embedded on the Web site\'s home Web page. As is well known, when an Internet user viewing a particular Web page “clicks on” or selects a hyperlink on a Web page that the user is currently viewing (the ‘host” Web page), the user\'s Web browser is directed away from that host Web page, and a new, linked-to Web page is loaded into the Web browser in its place. Alternatively, the user\'s computer may open a second Web browser window containing the linked-to Web page, covering the host Web page on the user\'s computer display screen. Or, in some cases, a “pop-up box” opens on the user\'s computer display screen, covering all or part of the host Web page

Thus, when a user clicks on a hyperlink to take advantage of any of these services included in a host Web page which the user is viewing, the user\'s view of the host Web page disappears, is blocked, or is otherwise significantly altered.

However, in many cases, the provider of the host Web page does not want to have its host Web page disappear or be covered on the user\'s computer display screen, or even to have the user\'s attention turned away from the host Web page. This may be the case where the host Web page includes paid advertisement banners and/or paid-for embedded links to other Web pages, such that the provider of the host Web page may lose revenue if the user leaves the host Web page or the host\'s Web site. Also, it is undesirable for the user to have to wait until a new Web page can be downloaded into their computer\'s browser to take advantage of these services, such as “help” or “contact us” etc.

In response to these needs, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/537,569, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes as if fully set forth herein, discloses an evolving interactive dialog box for an Internet Web page. After the user enters data into a user data entry box of a first revolution of the evolving interactive dialog box, the first revolution is replaced “in place” with a second revolution without disturbing or affecting any other part of the host Web page being displayed by the user\'s computer. Thus, the user is not driven or distracted away from the host Web site while submitting user data via the Internet to be processed. And, the user is not forced to wait while a new Web page is downloaded into their computer\'s browser.

The present inventors have subsequently discovered that the evolving interactive dialog box first disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/537,569 can be very useful in a number of different Internet applications. The inventors have also discovered that the utility of the evolving interactive dialog box can be especially enhanced in certain variants and/or if certain additional features are incorporated therein.

Accordingly, it would be advantageous to provide an improved evolving interactive dialog box. Other and further objects and advantages will appear hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A and 1B show a first preferred embodiment of an evolving interactive dialog box for a Web page;

FIGS. 2A and 2B show a second preferred embodiment of an evolving interactive dialog box for a Web page;

FIGS. 3A and 3B show a third preferred embodiment of an evolving interactive dialog box for a Web page;

FIGS. 4A and 4B show a fourth preferred embodiment of an evolving interactive dialog box for a Web page;

FIGS. 5A and 5B show a fifth preferred embodiment of an evolving interactive dialog box for a Web page;

FIGS. 6A and 6B show a sixth preferred embodiment of an evolving interactive dialog box for a Web page;

FIGS. 7A and 78 show a seventh preferred embodiment of an evolving interactive dialog box for a Web page;

FIG. 8 is a flowchart of a preferred embodiment process for processing data submitted by an Internet user via an evolving interactive dialog box;

FIG. 9 illustrates an exemplary system for processing user data received from a user computer via an evolving interactive dialog box;

FIGS. 10A-10C illustrate a data entry form for creating an evolving interactive dialog box having selected characteristics.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention comprises a method and system for receiving user data from a user computer via the Internet.

In one aspect of the invention, a host Web page includes an improved evolving interactive dialog box. Beneficially, the evolving interactive dialog box includes at least a first revolution and a second revolution. After the user provides user data or a request for information via the first revolution of the evolving interactive dialog box, the first revolution is replaced with a second revolution without disturbing or affecting any other part of the host Web page being displayed by the user\'s computer. Thus, a service may be provided via the interactive dialog box without altering the user\'s view of the remainder of the host Web page.

In another aspect of the invention, the second revolution may consist of predetermined content, such as a standard message, logo, image, etc. such that both first and second revolutions may be communicated to a user computer at a same time when the user computer downloads a host Web page.

In yet another aspect of the invention, the second revolution of an evolving interactive dialog box may include one or more customized components selected based upon the user data provided in the first revolution. Beneficially, such components may include text data, one or more images, streaming multimedia files, advertisements, and/or hyperlinks to one or more URLs (e.g., for Web pages) which are selected based on the user data provided in the first revolution.

In a further aspect of the invention, an evolving interactive dialog box includes dynamic characteristics which are easily changed to match a Web page in which the box is displayed. Such characteristics may include text font, text color, box shape, and background and foreground colors of the box.

FIGS. 1A and 1B show a first preferred embodiment of an evolving interactive dialog box 100 for a host Web page. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1A-B, the evolving interactive dialog box 100 has two evolutionary states, each comprising a dialog box and each herein referred to as a “revolution,” 110 and 120.

The first revolution 110 includes first data entry field 112, a second data entry field 114, a “Send” button 116, and provider data field 118. The provider data field 118 may be a simple standard text message. Beneficially, the first data entry field 112 is a text entry box wherein a user may enter user data, and the second data entry field 114 is a text entry box wherein a user supplies an e-mail address where the user may receive email.

When a user clicks on the “Send” button 116, the first revolution 110 of the evolving interactive dialog box 100 is replaced in place in a host Web page with the second revolution 120. When this is done, there are no page refreshes, URL changes or layering changes to the host Web page displayed in the Web browser displayed on the user\'s computer. The user\'s Web browser is not pointed away from the host Web page which the user is viewing, nor does a second Web browser window, or a “pop-up box,” open on the user\'s computer display screen. Thus, the user is able to interact with the evolving interactive dialog box without having the user\'s view of the remainder of the host Web page altered in any way.

The second revolution 120 includes a first data field 122, a “Return” button 124, and a second data field 126.

Each data field 122, 126 may comprise textual data, one or more image files, one or more hyperlinks, streaming video, or any combination thereof. Image files may be in jpeg, gif, animated gif, or any other convenient format.

The first and second data fields 122, 126 may each comprise standard provider data, such as a simple standard text message, or customized data sent to the user based upon user data provided in either or both of the first and second data entry fields 112, 114 of the first revolution 110.

Advantageously, when the first and second data fields 122, 126 each comprise only standard provider data, the entire evolving interactive dialog box 100 comprising the first and second revolutions 110, 120 may have a fixed layout and may be communicated in its entirety to a Web browser installed on the user\'s computer together with the host Web page.

In one embodiment, a response in either or both of the data fields 122, 126 is selected from a plurality of predefined possible responses based upon user data provided in either or both of the first and second data entry fields 112, 114 of the first revolution 110. For example, the user data may be scanned to detect the presence of one or more preassigned keywords. Depending upon which if any keywords are detected in the user data, one or more predetermined hyperlinks for corresponding Web pages may be provided in the response. For example, the word “book” may be a preassigned keyword. In that case, the user data is scanned to determine if it includes the word “book” and if it does, then a plurality of predetermined hyperlinks to Web sites which sell books are selected and included in the response data field 126.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120317502 A1
Publish Date
12/13/2012
Document #
13443189
File Date
04/10/2012
USPTO Class
715760
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
06F3/01
Drawings
13



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