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Directional focus navigation

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Directional focus navigation

A rendering engine that supports directional focus navigation, in response to a directional input, shifts the focus to an appropriate focusable element. The rendering engine determines one or more focusable elements that are candidates to receive the focus based on the received directional input and based on the relative display locations of the focusable elements. The rendering engine selects the most appropriate candidate focusable element based on each candidate element's display location in relation to the display location of the element that currently has focus.
Related Terms: Navigation Rendering

Browse recent Microsoft Corporation patents - Redmond, WA, US
Inventors: Tantek Celik, Ada Y. Chan, Bradley R. Pettit
USPTO Applicaton #: #20130014043 - Class: 715767 (USPTO) - 01/10/13 - 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 >Focus Control Of Multiple Diverse Workspace Objects


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20130014043, Directional focus navigation.

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This U.S. Non-Provisional Application for Letters Patent claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. §120 as a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/784,755, filed May 21, 2010, which claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Pat. No. 7,735,016, filed Apr. 28, 2006, which claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Pat. No. 7,134,089, filed Nov. 13, 2002, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.


This invention relates to focus navigation and, in particular, to directional focus navigation.


A graphical user interface (GUI) may include multiple elements that can receive input. The target of the input is said to have focus, and elements eligible for focus within a document are called focusable elements. In a GUI, input that is received is processed according to an element that currently has focus. For example, if a GUI contains two editable text boxes, when a user enters text through a keyboard, the text is rendered in the text box that currently has focus.

In a GUI that receives input from a pointing device, such as a mouse, the currently focused element is determined based on the location of a cursor or pointer when a user submits a select command (e.g., clicks a mouse button). If the cursor or pointer is over a text box when the user clicks the mouse button, then that text box is given focus and future input, such as through a keyboard, is directed to the text box until the focus is moved to another element.

In a GUI that receives input from devices without pointing mechanisms, such as keyboards or remote controls, an alternative mechanism is implemented to allow a user to specify an element to be given focus, and thus, the target of keyboard (or other device) input.

Browser or other rendering engine applications that provide a mechanism for displaying documents that include focusable elements (e.g., hypertext markup language (HTML) documents, dynamic HTML documents, or web pages) are implemented to support navigation between focusable elements in a document by way of a mouse or other similar pointing device. Some such documents also support navigation through the focusable elements of the document according to a tab order that defines a sequential order that determines which element is focused next when a user presses a tab key.

Recently introduced technology allows web pages (and potentially other types of documents that may include focusable elements) to be rendered using devices other than computers. These other devices may include, but are not limited to, a television set, a cellular phone display, and a multi-modal device, such as the Nokia 9110 Communicator. Such devices do not typically include a pointer input device, such as a mouse.

Rendering engines implemented on such devices may be programmed to receive an input that behaves like the press of a tab key to allow a user to move sequentially from one focusable element in a document to another. However, cascading style sheets, dynamic HTML, and the like support dynamic rendering of documents in such a way that the visual layout of a rendered document may differ from the layout that was intended when the document was generated and possibly, when the tab order of focusable elements in the document was established. Accordingly, moving from one focusable element to another either sequentially or based on an established tab order may not result in visually logical focus navigation, and it is desirable for a rendering engine to support directional focus navigation based on directional inputs, such as an arrow key press.


Directional focus navigation is described. A browser or other rendering engine that supports directional focus navigation determines focusable elements that are candidates to receive focus based on a directional input and a display layout of the focusable elements. After candidate focusable elements are identified, the rendering engine determines the most appropriate candidate, and moves the focus to that element.


The same numbers are used throughout the drawings to reference like features and components.

FIG. 1a illustrates a portion of an exemplary method for implementing directional focus navigation.

FIG. 1b illustrates a portion of an exemplary method for implementing directional focus navigation.

FIG. 2 illustrates a view of a document with three focusable elements.

FIG. 3 illustrates a view of a document with several focusable elements and a table structure.

FIG. 4 illustrates a view of a document with several focusable elements.

FIG. 5 illustrates a view of a document that includes focusable areas.

FIG. 6a illustrates a view of a scrollable document with several focusable elements.

FIG. 6b illustrates a view of a scrollable document with several focusable elements.

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