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Automatically hiding controls

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20130014050 patent thumbnailZoom

Automatically hiding controls


Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on a computer storage medium, for automatically hiding controls. In one aspect, a method includes displaying at least a portion of a content region of a user interface and at least a portion of a control region of the user interface, wherein the control region is peripheral to the content region; and determining that the portion of the control region of the user interface has been displayed for a predetermined period of time, then automatically removing the portion of the control region from display.
Related Terms: User Interface Computer Program

Google Inc. - Browse recent Google patents - Mountain View, CA, US
Inventor: Jean Baptiste Maurice Queru
USPTO Applicaton #: #20130014050 - Class: 715784 (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 >Window Or Viewpoint >Window Scrolling

Inventors:

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20130014050, Automatically hiding controls.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/216,466, filed Aug. 24, 2011, titled “AUTOMATICALLY HIDING CONTROLS,” which claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/451,879, titled “AUTOMATICALLY HIDING CONTROLS,” filed Mar. 11, 2011. The entire contents of the prior applications are hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

User interfaces may include content regions that display content, and control regions that display controls. For example, an email application may have a user interface that includes a content region that displays the content of an email, as well as a control region that includes reply, forward, and delete buttons. A web browser may display the content of a web page in a content region, and may display, in a control region, a navigation bar for allowing the user to navigate web pages or to determine information about a particular web page.

Applications typically display controls adjacent to content. When a user interface includes a large number of controls, the display of one or more control regions may overwhelm the small screen of a mobile device. To overcome this problem, traditional mobile device applications require the user of the mobile device to interact with the mobile device application before controls are shown. This approach, however, requires the user to be aware that the control region exists. Furthermore, once the control region is displayed, the small screen of a mobile device may become, and may remain, similarly overwhelmed.

SUMMARY

According to one general implementation, a control window or region, such as a region of a user interface that includes a toolbar, is displayed for a limited amount of time, then is automatically hidden to allow a larger portion of a content region to be displayed. By initially displaying the control region, the user is made aware of the existence of the controls, while eventually allowing a greater portion of a display to be used to display content. The user may, but is not required to, manually remove the control region from the display.

In general, another aspect of the subject matter described in this specification may be embodied in methods that include the actions of providing a control region for display adjacent to a content region, and determining that the control region has been displayed for a predetermined period of time. The process also includes removing the control region from display in response to determining that the control region has been displayed for the predetermined period of time.

In general, another aspect of the subject matter described in this specification may be embodied in methods that include the actions of displaying a content region, receiving a flinging gesture on the content region, and displaying a control region above or below the content region, in response to receiving the flinging gesture. The actions also include detecting a timer trigger event, and automatically hide the control region based detecting the timer trigger event.

In general, another aspect of the subject matter described in this specification may be embodied in methods that include the action of displaying at least a portion of a content region of a user interface and at least a portion of a control region of the user interface, where the control region is peripheral to the content region. The method also includes determining that the portion of the control region of the user interface has been displayed for a predetermined period of time, then automatically removing the portion of the control region from display.

Other embodiments of these aspects include corresponding systems, apparatus, and computer programs, configured to perform the actions of the methods, encoded on computer storage devices.

These and other embodiments may each optionally include one or more of the following features. For instance, the actions include receiving a user input through the user interface, the portion of a content region and the portion of the control region are simultaneously displayed in response to receiving the user input; the user input is a flinging gesture initiated in the content region of the user interface; automatically removing the portion of the control region from display includes displaying a same or different portion of the content region only; automatically removing the portion of the control region includes scrolling the portion of the control region from display; and/or the actions include receiving a user input through the user interface after removing the portion of the control region from display, then displaying a same or different portion of the control region.

In some instances, determining that the portion of the control region has been displayed for a predetermined period of time includes determining when any portion of the control region has been displayed, then starting a timer, and determining when the timer indicates that the predetermined period of time has elapsed; the control region is disposed adjacent to, and above or below the content region; and/or the actions include determining that a flinging gesture input by the user through the user interface has caused or will cause the user interface to scroll past an edge of the content region, where the portion of a content region and the portion of the control region are simultaneously displayed in response to determining that the flinging gesture has caused or will cause the user interface to scroll past an edge of the content region.

In some instances, the actions include receiving a user input, and determining that the user input will cause only a portion of the control region of the interface to be displayed, where simultaneously displaying at least a portion of a content region of a user interface and at least a portion of a control region of the user interface further includes simultaneously displaying the portion of the content region and all of the control region based on determining that the user input will cause only a portion of the control region to be displayed; the portion of the control region includes at least a portion of a title bar, a menu bar, a tool bar, an address bar, a status bar, and/or a progress bar; and/or the user interface includes a web browser user interface, or an email application user interface.

The details of one or more embodiments of the subject matter described in this specification are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other potential features, aspects, and advantages of the subject matter will become apparent from the description, the drawings, and the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1 and 2 are diagrams of example systems that may be used for displaying user interfaces.

FIG. 3 is a flowchart of an example process for automatically hiding controls.

FIG. 4 illustrates the removing of a control region from an example user interface.

FIG. 5 illustrates the displaying of a control region on an example user interface.

Like reference numbers represent corresponding parts throughout.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a diagram of an example system 100 that may be used for displaying a user interface on a presence-sensitive interface, e.g., a touch-screen display. The system 100 includes a mobile device 102, e.g., a device that includes a processor 104 and a computer readable medium 106. The computer readable medium 106 includes one or more applications 108, such as a web browser.

For mobile device applications that have user interfaces that include both content regions and control regions, an application may briefly display a control region before automatically hiding the control region, for example by scrolling or “snapping” to the outer edge of the content region. Once hidden, the user of the mobile device may drag or scroll the user interface to redisplay the control region. Because the control region is initially displayed to the user, the user is made aware of the controls displayed in the control region. By automatically hiding the control region, however, the user interface is able to display a larger amount of the content region. Such an approach is particularly useful when the user “flings” to, i.e., uses a flinging gesture to access, the top or bottom of content, but overshoots the top or bottom edge of the content region and is shown a control region.

Because the mobile device 102 includes a small display, the web browser may initially display a viewable portion 110 of a user interface 122, where the viewable portion 110 includes a control region 112 and a content region 114. The control region 112 includes a title bar 116, a menu bar 118, and a tool bar 120. The user of the mobile device 102 may drag or scroll the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122 to see additional portions, or to adjust the viewable portion, of the content region 114.

When the content region 114 is sized to be readable by the user, the entire user interface 122 may be too large to be displayed on the mobile device 102 at any one point in time. The viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122 may thus be a viewport to the user interface 122, where a user\'s scrolling within the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122 adjusts the viewport to allow the user see different portions of the user interface 122. The user interface 122 may include, for example, the control region 112 (e.g., as illustrated by a control region 125) and a bottom status bar control region 126. The content region 114 displayed in the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122 may be a portion of a larger content region 128 included in the user interface 122.

In a state “A”, which may correspond to a start-up state of the web browser or a state in which a user has “flung” to the to the top of the user interface 122, the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122 displays a portion 124 of the user interface 122, where the portion 124 includes a portion of the content region 128 and the control region 125. In some implementations, in state “A”, the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122 includes a control region corresponding to the control region 126 (e.g., a status bar may be displayed at the bottom of the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122).

By displaying the control region 112 (and possibly a bottom status bar control region 128) the application 108 communicates the existence of the control regions to the user. However, displaying control regions uses space on the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122 and takes away space that may be otherwise used for displaying content in the content region 114. For example, as shown in the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122, the control region 112 occupies approximately one third of the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122. If the control region 112 were not shown on the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122, a gain of one third of the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122 for display of content may be achieved. However, as mentioned, if the control region 112 is not displayed, the user may not be made aware that the control region 112 exists.

To achieve balance between a goal of communicating the existence and location of the control region 112 and a goal of increasing space for display of content, the control region 112 may be displayed for a brief, predetermined period of time and then may be removed from the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122. In other words, the control region 112 may be shown initially and momentarily, so that the user is made aware of the control region 112, and then the control region 112 may be hidden to increase the amount of the content region 114 that is shown on the display.

For example, in a state “B”, a predetermined interval (e.g., one second, three seconds, one minute) of a timer 132 may expire and may trigger a timer event. In response to the timer event, the control region 112 may be removed from the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122, as illustrated by a viewable portion 134 of the user interface 122, without or without an intervening selection or input by the user. A result of removing the control region 112 is that the viewable portion 134 of the user interface 122 includes a larger area for display of content than the viewable portion 110 of the user interface 122. The viewable portion 134 of the user interface 122 is displaying a portion 136 of the user interface 122, where the portion 136 includes the top portion of the content region 128.

In a state “C”, the user drags or scrolls the content displayed in the viewable portion 134 of the user interface 122. For example, as illustrated in a viewable portion 137 of the user interface 122, the user may scroll using a finger 138. After scrolling, a portion 142 of the user interface 122 is displayed in the viewable portion 137 of the user interface 122. Scrolling may result in all or a portion of the control region 125 scrolling into view (e.g., as illustrated by a partial control region 140). The user may scroll intentionally, for example, to gain access to the control region 125. The previous showing of the control region 112 (e.g., in the state “A”) provided the user with an indication of the location of the control region 125 and also indicated that scrolling may be used to bring the control region 125 back into view.

In some implementations, when scrolling results in some but not all of the control region 125 being scrolled into view, the portion of the control region 125 (e.g., the partial control region 140) remains displayed for a predetermined period time (e.g., five seconds), and then disappears when the predetermined period of time has elapsed. The predetermined period of time for displaying a partial control region may be the same amount or a different amount than the predetermined period of time associated with the timer 132.

In some implementations, if scrolling results in some but not all of the control region 125 being scrolled into view, the entire control region 125 may be shown, or, in other words, may “snap” into view (e.g., as illustrated by the control region 112). After being “snapped” into view, the control region 125 may remain visible until the user scrolls the control region 125 from display. Similarly, if the user scrolls the viewable portion 137 of the user interface 122 so that the entire control region 125 is visible, the control region 125 may remain visible indefinitely (e.g., until the user scrolls the control region 125 from display).

As another example, FIG. 2 is a diagram of an example system 200 that may be used for displaying a user interface 202. The user interface 202 includes a control region 204, a content region 206, and a control region 208. The control region 204 includes a title bar 210, a menu bar 212, and a tool bar 214. A viewable portion of the user interface 202 may be displayed, such as in a user interface of a browser application, on a mobile device.

For example, in a state “A”, a viewable portion 216 of the user interface 202 is displayed, showing a portion 218 of the user interface 202. The portion 218 includes a portion of the content region 206. In the state “A”, the user scrolls the content displayed in the viewable portion 216 of the user interface 202, such as by using a hand 220. For example, the user may perform a “flinging” gesture, which is a gesture that may be performed with a varying amount of velocity that results in a scroll amount that is proportionate to the velocity.

In a state “B”, in response to the flinging gesture, the browser scrolls a viewable portion 222 of the user interface 202 to display, during the scrolling, different portions of the user interface 202. When the scrolling stops, a particular portion of the user interface 202 is displayed in the viewable portion 222 of the user interface 202. For example, if the velocity of the fling is sufficient such that the scrolling reaches the bottom of the user interface 202, a portion 224 of the user interface 202 may be displayed in the viewable portion 222 of the user interface 202. For example, the viewable portion 222 of the user interface 202 includes a control region 226 that corresponds to the control region 208 located at the bottom of the portion 224.

As described above, the showing of the control region 226 in the viewable portion 222 of the user interface 202 facilitates control region discoverability of the user, but uses a portion of the viewable portion 222 of the user interface 202 that may otherwise be used to display content. In a state “C”, the control region 226 is removed from the viewable portion 222 of the user interface 202 after a predetermined period of time elapses (e.g., as illustrated by a timer 228). The removal of the control region 226 from the viewable portion 222 of the user interface 202 is illustrated by a viewable portion 230 of the user interface 202. The viewable portion 230 of the user interface 202 is displaying a portion 232 of the user interface 202 (e.g., the bottommost portion of the content region 206). As shown in FIG. 2, the viewable portion 230 of the user interface 202 is capable of displaying a larger amount of content than the viewable portion 222 of the user interface 202.

In a state “D”, the user scrolls the viewable portion 230 of the user interface 202 (such as by using a hand 232, as illustrated in a viewable portion 234 of the user interface 202). The user may scroll, for example, to access the control region 208. In response to the scrolling, the control region 208 is displayed (e.g., as illustrated by a control region 236). The control region 236 may be displayed indefinitely, since it may be determined that the user intentionally scrolled to view the control region 236. The control region 236 may be removed from the viewable portion 234 of the user interface 202 if, for example, the user scrolls the control region 236 out of view.

FIG. 3 is a flowchart of an example process 300 for automatically hiding controls. Briefly, the process 300 includes: (optionally) detecting a user input such as a flinging gesture; simultaneously displaying at least a portion of a content region of a user interface and at least a portion of a control region of the user interface, where the control region is peripheral to the content region. The process 300 also includes determining that the portion of the control region of the user interface has been displayed for a predetermined period of time; and automatically removing the portion of the control region from display.

In further detail, when the process 300 begins (301), a flinging gesture or other user input may be detected (302). As indicated by the dashed outline of the flowchart shape for operation 302, operation 302 is optional. A flinging gesture or other user input may be detected on a user interface, such as the user interface of a mobile device or of another type of device, such as a personal computer. A velocity associated with the flinging gesture may be detected. The velocity may determine an amount of scrolling to perform on the user interface. For example, it may be determined that the flinging gesture input has caused or will cause the user interface to scroll past an edge of a content region included in the user interface.

The content region may be peripheral to one or more control regions. For example, a control region may be at the bottom, at the top, at the left side, or at the right side of the content region. A control region may include one or more of a title bar, a menu bar, a tool bar, an address bar, a status bar, and a progress bar, to name a few examples.

Continuing with FIG. 3, at least a portion of the content region of the user interface and at least a portion of a control region of the user interface are simultaneously displayed (304). The simultaneous display may occur, for example, upon startup of the user interface or in response to a user input (e.g., in response to operation 302). If the simultaneous display occurs in response to user input (e.g., in response to operation 302), the portion of the content region and all or a portion of the control region may be simultaneously displayed based on determining that the user input will cause at least a portion of the control region to be displayed. In other words, the user input may cause the user interface to scroll causing at least a portion of the control region to be displayed. In some implementations, the portion of the content region and all of the control region are simultaneously displayed based on determining that the user input will cause only a portion of the control region to be displayed. In other words, if the user input causes the user interface to scroll such that a portion of the control region is displayed, the entire control region may be displayed, or may “snap” into view.

It is determined that the portion of the control region of the user interface has been displayed for a predetermined period of time (306). For example, a timer may be started when it is determined that any portion of the control region has been displayed and it may be subsequently determined when the timer indicates that the predetermined period of time has elapsed. Alternatively, the time may be started when a user input is received at some point after any portion of the control region has been displayed. For example, a timer event may be received when the predetermined period of time has elapsed. In some implementations, the predetermined period of time is application specific. In some implementations, the predetermined period of time is user configurable.

The portion of the control region is automatically removed from display (308), thereby ending the process 300 (309). All of the control region may be removed from display at the same time, or the control region may be removed by scrolling the control region from display. The control region may be scrolled from display to provide a visual indication to the user, indicating to the user that scrolling the user interface towards the former location of the control region is an action that may cause the control region to reappear.

Removing the control region may result in an increase in the size of the content region, which may result in the display of different content in the content region. For example, if the control region is a title bar located above the content region, removing the title bar from display may result in the display of additional content in the content region. For example, content currently being displayed may move upward in the content region and previously undisplayed content may be displayed at the bottom of the content region.

FIG. 4 illustrates the removing of a control region 402 from an example user interface 404. The user interface 404 includes the control region 402 and a content region 406. The content region 406 is displaying content 407. The control region 402 may be displayed in the user interface 404, for example, upon startup of the user interface 404. As another example, the control region 402 may be displayed in the user interface 404 in response to a user scrolling to the bottom of the user interface 404.

In response to the display of the control region 402, a timer 408 may be started. The timer 408 may be started based upon the display of the control region, or based on receiving a user input after the control region has been displayed. The timer 408 may be configured such that a timer event fires after a predetermined period of time has elapsed. In response to the timer event, the control region 402 may be removed from the user interface 404. In some implementations, when the control region 402 is removed it may appear to the user that the entire control region 402 is hidden instantaneously. For example, the user interface 404 may appear to change to a user interface 410 instantaneously.

In some implementations, the control region 402 may be removed by scrolling the control region 402 from display. For example and as illustrated in a region 412 of a user interface 414, the control region 402 may appear to scroll or move off of the bottom of the user interface 414. The control region 402 may be scrolled from display to provide a visual indication to the user, indicating that scrolling the user interface 414 towards the former location of the control region 402 is an action that may cause the control region 402 to reappear.

Content may also appear to scroll, or move. Content 416 corresponds to the content 407, and movement of the content 416 to a lower location (as illustrated by content 418) illustrates that content in a content region 420 may move downward in response to the removal of the control region 402. Previously undisplayed content may appear at the top of the content region 420.

In some implementations, an indicator may be displayed to the user that provides a visual indication of the existence of a control region and an indication of an action that may cause the control region to be displayed. For example, the user interfaces 410 and 414 include indicators 422 and 424, respectively, where the indicators 422 and 424 indicate that a control region is located at the bottom of the respective user interface 410 or 414. The indicators 422 and 424 indicate that the user may be able to scroll off the bottom of the user interface 410 or 414, respectively, to cause the control region 402 to be displayed.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20130014050 A1
Publish Date
01/10/2013
Document #
13249648
File Date
09/30/2011
USPTO Class
715784
Other USPTO Classes
715781
International Class
06F3/048
Drawings
6


User Interface
Computer Program


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