News Column

"Multi-Touch Interface for Visual Analytics" in Patent Application Approval Process

June 19, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- A patent application by the inventor Blyumen, Julia (Scotts Valley, CA), filed on November 29, 2012, was made available online on June 5, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Oracle International Corporation.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present application relates to software and more specifically to user interface designs and methods for facilitating manipulating information visualizations, such as tables, charts, graphs, tree diagrams, and so on.

"A visualization may be any visual depiction or graphical arrangement of data and/or calculations based on data. Visualizations that include calculation results or measurements are called analytics herein. Visualizations are employed in various demanding applications, including business, science, and economics, for facilitating analyzing data and accompanying calculations to perform financial analysis, scientific inquiry, market forecasts, and so on. Such applications demand efficient mechanisms for enabling users to manipulate visualizations without losing focus on the visualization or analysis being performed.

"Efficient mechanisms for manipulating visualizations are particularly important in analytic software employed by enterprises, where effective analysis of data can affect corporate profitability, goal attainment, and so on. Such analytic software may use data from business operations to enhance awareness and improve decision making. Organizations that successfully leverage their data assets for decision-making may gain a competitive advantage.

"Conventionally, analytics software used to present visualizations employs various menu items, buttons, and other Graphical User Interface (GUI) controls to facilitate selecting underlying data, performing calculations or operations on underlying data, and for manipulating visualizations. Example visualization manipulations include pivoting, zooming, filtering of data, drilling into data (i.e., illustrating more detail), adding or removing dimensions and measures from a visualization, and so on. However, use of separate menus, buttons, and so on, may distract a user from the analytic, which may complicate analysis.

"Alternatively, certain mechanisms for manipulating visualizations are embedded in the visualization itself. However, such mechanisms remain relatively inefficient and incomplete, and they may still require users to navigate complicated menus to select desired options. Such inefficiencies may further inhibit adoption of analytic software among enterprises."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "An example method for facilitating adjusting a displayed representation of a visualization, such as a table, diagram, graph, or other analytic, includes employing a touch-sensitive display to present a user interface display screen depicting a first visualization; and providing a first user option to apply touch input to a region of the user interface display screen coinciding with a portion of the first visualization to facilitate affecting an arrangement of data displayed via the first visualization, wherein the touch input includes a multi-touch gesture.

"In a more specific embodiment, the multi-touch gesture includes a rotation gesture, and the method further includes displaying a visual indication, via a second visualization, of a change to be applied to the first visualization as a user performs the rotation gesture, and updating or changing the second visualization as a user continues perform the rotation gesture. The method further includes implementing a change in the first visualization upon completion of the rotation gesture, where the change in the first visualization corresponds to a change illustrated via the second visualization. In the specific example embodiment, the first visualization includes a table, and the second visualization illustrates one or more options for changing an arrangement of columns or rows of the first visualization, i.e., an option to apply a pivot operation, to the table as indicated by the second visualization.

"In an illustrative embodiment, the example method further includes providing a first user option to employ a pinch gesture to implement a drilling operation on data represented via the first visualization. The first user option includes an option to employ a pinch together gesture, also called a pinch close gesture, to implement a logical zoom out of data represented via the first visualization in response to the pinch gesture. A pinch apart gesture, also called a pinch open gesture, is used to implement a logical zoom in, i.e., a drilling operation on data presented via the first visualization.

"The touch input may further include a first sequence of gestures for implementing a filtering operation on data displayed via the first visualization. An example sequence of gestures includes a press and drag gesture, also simply called a drag gesture, that is adapted to cause selection of a portion of the first visualization; a press and hold gesture applied to a selected portion of the first visualization, resulting in display of a user interface control in response thereto; followed by a tap gesture to select the user interface control that appears in response to the press and hold gesture, thereby resulting in filtering of the first visualization. An example filtering operation includes removal of a portion of the first visualization that was selected via the dragging gesture.

"The example method further includes providing a second user option to add a dimension to the first visualization by selecting a dimension from a list by pressing on a representation of the dimension and employing a press and drag gesture to move the dimension into a position on the first visualization. A third user option enables removal of a dimension from a visualization by selecting a visual representation of a dimension in or on the first visualization via a press gesture, followed by a drag gesture, where the drag gesture terminates at a region of the user interface display screen that is off of the displayed visualization.

"Hence, certain embodiments discussed herein may provide a suite or collection of touch input gestures, including multi-touch gestures, which are mapped to visualization-specific operations, such as pivoting, drilling, filtering, adding dimensions, and removing dimensions from a visualization, such as an analytic. Users may apply intuitive touch input to the surface of a touch-sensitive display corresponding to a visualization to manipulate the visualization, thereby obviating the need to navigate complex Graphical User Interface (GUI) menus that are separate from the visualization, and thereby enabling a user to maintain focus on the visualization and analysis being performed.

"Accordingly, certain embodiments discussed herein may obviate use of a cursor, mouse, and conventional GUI controls for analytic manipulations, while providing enhanced multi-touch interface functionality for visual analytics, thereby improving usability of accompanying analytic applications and increasing user productivity. Substantial enhancements to user experience relative to conventional analytic applications may increase adoption rates of accompanying analytic software, thereby further enhancing enterprise productivity.

"A further understanding of the nature and the advantages of particular embodiments disclosed herein may be realized by reference of the remaining portions of the specification and the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an example computing environment and accompanying system for employing context-sensitive touch gestures to control or manipulate visualizations via a touch-sensitive display.

"FIG. 2A is a first example user interface display screen illustrating a table visualization and a rotate-to-pivot gesture initially being applied thereto.

"FIG. 2B illustrates a second example user interface display screen after a user has further rotated two fingers as part of the rotate-to-pivot gesture began in FIG. 2A.

"FIG. 2C illustrates a third example user interface display screen after a user has further rotated two fingers as part of the rotate-to-pivot gesture continued in FIG. 2B.

"FIG. 2D illustrates a fourth example user interface display screen after a user has further rotated two fingers as part of the rotate-to-pivot gesture continued in FIG. 2C.

"FIG. 3A illustrates a fifth example user interface display screen after a user has selected a pivot option of FIG. 2A and is initially applying a pinch apart gesture to implement drilling operation (logical zoom) on a time dimension of a table visualization.

"FIG. 3B illustrates a sixth example user interface display screen after a user has further separated their fingers as part of the pinch apart gesture began in FIG. 3A.

"FIG. 3C illustrates a seventh example user interface display screen after a user has further separated their fingers as part of the pinch apart gesture continued in FIG. 3B.

"FIG. 4A illustrates a ninth example user interface display screen and a press and drag gesture being applied to a table visualization to add a dimension thereto.

"FIG. 4B illustrates a tenth example user interface display screen after a user has further dragged a dimension into position via the press and drag gesture began in FIG. 4A.

"FIG. 5A illustrates an eleventh example user interface display screen after a user has begun selecting a region of a table via a press and drag gesture.

"FIG. 5B illustrates a twelfth example user interface display screen after a user has finished selecting a region and has implemented a press and hold gesture to trigger display of a user interface control to facilitate filtering data in a table based on the selection.

"FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of an example method adapted for use with the embodiments of FIGS. 1-5B."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Blyumen, Julia. Multi-Touch Interface for Visual Analytics. Filed November 29, 2012 and posted June 5, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=207&p=5&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140529.PD.&OS=PD/20140529&RS=PD/20140529

Keywords for this news article include: Software, Oracle International Corporation.

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Source: Computer Weekly News