The patent's assignee for patent number 8621422 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Responsive graphical design tools have risen in importance alongside the proliferation of different screen sizes used by the general public to render and consume graphical media. Responsive design tools and techniques are of particular importance for the design of web pages and web sites. As nearly every electronic device is now capable of accessing the Internet, and people are becoming less tolerant of small screen sizes serving as a hindrance to their web browsing experience, a web design process flow must take varying screen size into account from start to finish. Furthermore, media consumers expect to be able to manipulate the size of individual windows on a screen to allocate a desired amount of screen real estate to different windows based on their relative importance. As a result, the responsiveness of a graphical design must be taken into account even if the design is intended for consumption on a single device. Finally, certain devices are capable of rendering a design in different orientations such as portrait and landscape orientations. It is therefore desirable to have different versions of a design specified for each of these orientations.
"Responsive web design generally involves two main steps. First a set of dimension specifications are provided by a designer. These dimensions specifications will serve either to define a target dimension at which a particular version of the design will be rendered, or as trigger points at which the design will switch from one version to another. For example, a designer may specify a version of a design for a smart phone screen with a 3.5 inch diagonal and another version of a design for a tablet screen with a 10 inch diagonal; or a designer may specify a design to switch from one version to another when a rendering space in a browser window is decreased in size below a width of 10 inches. FIG. 1 illustrates a responsive design as specified for a smart phone screen in portrait orientation 100 and in landscape orientation 101. The portrait orientation 100 and landscape orientation 101 each display different dimension versions of a single responsive design. Note that the hero image 102, title text 103, and link list 104 in portrait orientation 100 are laid out in an entirely different configuration as hero image 105, title text 106, and link list 107 in landscape orientation 101.
"Regardless of how the different dimensions are selected or delineated, the increase in required design effort for the responsive design rises in proportion to the number of different sizes for which a design must be specified. For example, the work required to specify the responsive design shown in portrait orientation 100 and landscape orientation 101 may be nearly double the work required to specify a single nonresponsive design. Graphic designers and developers have found themselves faced with the difficult task of producing various versions of the same designs that are optimized for different rendering spaces. Responsive graphical design tools seek to ease the burden of specifying all of these different versions.
"Related approaches to responsive graphical design have included automated procedures for modifying a design such as reducing white space between design elements, reducing font sizes, and reducing image sizes automatically as the rendering space afforded for the design is reduced. Other approaches have focused on alleviating the manual specification processes by copying the design automatically from one dimension version into an area used to specify a different dimension version of the design. For example, the design elements in portrait orientation 100 in FIG. 1 would be copied automatically by the tool into a landscape orientation design window automatically as soon as the designer requested the ability to define a landscape version of the design. The result would be something like what is shown in landscape orientation 108. The graphical designer would then be able to rearrange and resize the copied elements in the new design window to create the version shown in landscape orientation 101."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "In one embodiment of the invention, a system is provided with a graphical user interface that allows a user to specify a design. The graphical user interface has an area for displaying a rendering of the design according to a first dimension specification. The system also has a dimension specification interface that allows the user to set a second dimension specification. The system also has a widget interface that allows the user to (i) add a widget to said design, (ii) specify a first state for the widget when the design is rendered according to the first dimension specification, and (iii) specify a second state for the widget when the design is rendered according to the second dimension specification.
"In another embodiment of the invention, a method of allowing a user to specify a design is provided. The method includes providing a graphical user interface to display a page of a design. The method also includes providing a widget characterization interface that allows the user to add an interactive widget to the page in a default dimension version. The method also includes accepting a first characterization from the user to be associated with the interactive widget in the default dimension version. The method also includes providing a dimension specification interface for the user to allow the user to specify a second dimension version. The method also includes accepting a second characterization from the user to be associated with the interactive widget in the second dimension version. The widget characterization interface allows the user to specify an interactive property of the widget differently for the first characterization and the second characterization.
"In another embodiment of the invention, a method of allowing a user to specify a responsive web page design is provided. The method includes receiving a dimension specification from the user, the dimension specification being a threshold dimension. The method also includes receiving a specification for a first widget state for an interactive widget from the user, the interactive widget having a set of properties. The method also includes receiving a second specification for a second widget state for the interactive widget from the user, the second specification altering a subset of the set of properties of the interactive widget. The method also includes providing a first rendering of the responsive web page design that is specified for browser windows that are larger than the threshold dimension. The method also includes rendering the interactive widget in the first rendering according to the first characterization. The method also includes providing a second rendering of the responsive web page design that is specified for browser windows that are smaller than the threshold dimension. The method also includes rendering the interactive widget in the second rendering according to the second characterization. The set of properties includes an interactive property of the widget."
For additional information on this patent, see: Hsu,
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