News Column

Patent Issued for Computing Device with Improved User Interface for Applications

May 14, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- A patent by the inventor Martyn, Mathieu Kennedy (London, GB), filed on October 25, 2013, was published online on April 29, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8713476 is assigned to Core Wireless Licensing S.a.r.l (Luxembourg, LU).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The disclosed embodiments relate to a computing device with an improved user interface for applications. The term `computing device` refers to any kind of device which can process and display information. The aspects of the disclosed embodiments have specific application to mobile telephones. The term `mobile telephone` refers to any kind of mobile device with communications capabilities and includes radio (mobile) telephones, smart phones, communicators, PDAs and wireless information devices. It includes devices able to communicate using not only mobile radio such as GSM or UMTS, but also any other kind of wireless communications system, such as Bluetooth.

"One of the problems facing the designers of computing devices with small screens is how to allow the user to navigate quickly and efficiently to access data and activate a desired function. Computing devices with small screens tend to need data and functionality divided into many layers or views: for example, the small display size of mobile telephones has conventionally meant that several hierarchies of functions have to be offered to a user. The interface can be thought of as having many layers, with the user having to first locate the correct top level function and then, within that function, progressively drill down (sometimes through 3 or more layers) to complete the required task. Where a mobile telephone includes several different applications (e.g. a message application, a contacts/address book application, a calendar application and a telephone application), then the user normally has to first of all locate, then start/open the required application and then may need to navigate to the required function (e.g. create a new contact entry) or cause the required stored data (e.g. display names beginning with the letter `A`) to be displayed. This process can seem slow, complex and difficult to learn, particularly to novice users.

"Hence, with conventional user interfaces, a user may need to scroll around and switch views many times to find the right data/functionality. An effective user interface would ideally enable the user to readily and rapidly access the right data/functionality. Designing such an interface is however a complex human factors problem, especially for computing devices such as mobile telephones.

"In some mobile telephones, a menu of several available options is displayed: the menu commands may then be divided into functional groups, with the most useful functional group at the top of the menu; the most useful command within that group is then placed at the top of group. In other devices, only one option is shown on the screen at any one time, making it harder for a user to appreciate the available options and therefore navigate effectively.

"Some mobile telephones also offer limited shortcuts to get straight to a particular function. This usually involves memorising various keyboard input sequences, corresponding to different menu positions at different levels in the menu hierarchy. These shortcuts appeal only to a small number of expert users. Most mobile telephones also include idle screens (i.e. a display which is shown when the mobile telephone is switched on but not in use); these idle screens often carry alerting messages (e.g. '1 missed call').

"On a more theoretical basis, a user interface typically has to demonstrate or make explicit the changing internal status of the mobile telephone as navigation proceeds. For example, to select or initiate a function (e.g. to open an address book function, enter a PIN security number or to alter the ring melody) a user has to understand (a) how to navigate to that function in order to select that function and (b) that the status of the telephone is such that the function can be selected or initiated. The technical problem of effectively enabling the user to understand this changing internal state has to date been inadequately addressed."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "The embodiments disclosed herein are directed to providing an improved form of user interface that addresses the problems stated above. According to a first aspect of the disclosed embodiments there is provided a computing device comprising a display screen, the computing device being able to display on the screen an application summary window, the summary window comprising a limited list of (i) common functions offered within an application and/or (ii) data stored in that application.

"Hence, the presently disclosed embodiments envisage, in one implementation, a `snap-shot` view of an application in which the snap-shot view brings together, in one summary window, a limited list of common functions and commonly accessed stored data.

"Preferably, where the summary window for a given application shows data or a function of interest, the user can directly select that data or function; this causes the application to open and the user to be presented with a screen in which the data or function of interest is prominent. This saves the user from navigating to the required application, opening it up, and then navigating within that application to enable the data of interest to be seen or a function of interest to be activated.

"In another aspect, there is a computer program which when running on a computing device (such as a mobile telephone), enables the device to operate in accordance with the above aspects of the disclosed embodiments. The program may be an operating system."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Martyn, Mathieu Kennedy. Computing Device with Improved User Interface for Applications. U.S. Patent Number 8713476, filed October 25, 2013, and published online on April 29, 2014. Patent URL:

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Source: Journal of Engineering

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