News Column

Patent Issued for Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Manipulating a Collection of Objects

August 7, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors McCullough, Ian Patrick (Wilkinsburg, PA); Berger, Peter Glen (Irwin, PA), filed on May 27, 2010, was published online on July 22, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8786639 is Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The use of touch-sensitive surfaces as input devices for computers and other electronic computing devices has increased significantly in recent years. Exemplary touch-sensitive surfaces include touch pads and touch screen displays. Such surfaces are widely used to manipulate user interface objects on a display.

"Exemplary manipulations include manipulating a collection of user interface objects. In some applications, a user may want to manipulate multiple objects or portions of a chart. For example, a user may want to highlight certain wedges in a pie chart by grouping and separating them from the remainder of the wedges. A user may need to perform such manipulations on chart objects in a spreadsheet application (e.g., Numbers from Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.), a presentation application (e.g., Keynote from Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.), a word processing application (e.g., Pages from Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.), a drawing application, or a website creation application (e.g., iWeb from Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.).

"But existing methods for manipulating a collection of objects (e.g., portions of a chart) are cumbersome and inefficient. For example, using a sequence of mouse-based inputs to select a collection of objects (e.g., chart portions) and manipulate the selected collection of objects (e.g., chart portions) is tedious and creates a significant cognitive burden on a user. In addition, existing methods take longer than necessary, thereby wasting energy. This latter consideration is particularly important in battery-operated devices."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Accordingly, there is a need for computing devices with faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for manipulating a collection of objects (e.g., chart portions) by using touch-based gestural user input, such as sequential touch-based inputs on a track pad or touch screen. Such methods and interfaces may complement or replace conventional methods for manipulating a collection of objects (e.g., chart portions). Such methods and interfaces reduce the cognitive burden on a user and produce a more efficient human-machine interface. For battery-operated computing devices, such methods and interfaces conserve power and increase the time between battery charges.

"The above deficiencies and other problems associated with user interfaces for computing devices with touch-sensitive surfaces are reduced or eliminated by the disclosed devices. In some embodiments, the device is a desktop computer. In some embodiments, the device is portable (e.g., a notebook computer, tablet computer, or handheld device). In some embodiments, the device has a touchpad. In some embodiments, the device has a touch-sensitive display (also known as a 'touch screen' or 'touch screen display'). In some embodiments, the device has a graphical user interface (GUI), one or more processors, memory and one or more modules, programs or sets of instructions stored in the memory for performing multiple functions. In some embodiments, the user interacts with the GUI primarily through finger contacts and gestures on the touch-sensitive surface. In some embodiments, the functions may include image editing, drawing, presenting, word processing, website creating, disk authoring, spreadsheet making, game playing, telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, workout support, digital photographing, digital videoing, web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing. Executable instructions for performing these functions may be included in a computer readable storage medium or other computer program product configured for execution by one or more processors.

"In accordance with some embodiments, a method is performed at a multifunction device with a display and a touch-sensitive surface. The method includes: displaying a chart with a plurality of chart portions; detecting a first contact at a first location on the touch-sensitive surface that corresponds to a location on the display of a first chart portion; and detecting a first movement of the first contact across the touch-sensitive surface to a second location that corresponds to a location on the display of a second chart portion that is distinct from the first chart portion. The first movement of the first contact touches respective locations on the touch-sensitive surface that correspond to locations on the display of respective chart portions, thereby selecting the respective chart portions. The method also includes: detecting a pause in movement of the first contact at the second location; and, after detecting the pause in movement of the first contact at the second location: detecting a second movement of the first contact across the touch-sensitive surface to a third location and moving the selected chart portions away from the remainder of the chart in accordance with the second movement.

"In accordance with some embodiments, a method is performed at a multifunction device with a display and a touch-sensitive surface. The method includes: displaying a collection of objects; and detecting a gesture made by a contact on the touch-sensitive surface. The gesture comprises a first movement of the contact on the touch-sensitive surface followed by a pause in movement of the contact followed by a second movement of the contact on the touch-sensitive surface. The method also includes: selecting a plurality of objects in the collection of objects in accordance with the first movement; and, after detecting the pause in movement of the contact, moving the selected plurality of objects away from unselected objects in the collection of objects in accordance with the second movement.

"In accordance with some embodiments, a multifunction device includes a display, a touch-sensitive surface, one or more processors, memory, and one or more programs; the one or more programs are stored in the memory and configured to be executed by the one or more processors and the one or more programs include instructions for performing the operations of any of the methods described above. In accordance with some embodiments, a graphical user interface on a multifunction device with a display, a touch-sensitive surface, a memory, and one or more processors to execute one or more programs stored in the memory includes one or more of the elements displayed in any of the methods described above, which are updated in response to inputs, as described in any of the methods above. In accordance with some embodiments, a computer readable storage medium has stored therein instructions which when executed by a multifunction device with a display and a touch-sensitive surface, cause the device to perform the operations of any of the methods described above. In accordance with some embodiments, a multifunction device includes: a display; a touch-sensitive surface; and means for performing the operations of any of the methods described above. In accordance with some embodiments, an information processing apparatus, for use in a multifunction device with a display and a touch-sensitive surface, includes means for performing the operations of any of the methods described above.

"Thus, multifunction devices with displays and touch-sensitive surfaces are provided with faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for manipulating a collection of objects (e.g., chart portions) using touch-based gestural user input, thereby increasing the effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction with such devices. Such methods and interfaces may complement or replace conventional methods for manipulating chart portions."

For additional information on this patent, see: McCullough, Ian Patrick; Berger, Peter Glen. Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Manipulating a Collection of Objects. U.S. Patent Number 8786639, filed May 27, 2010, and published online on July 22, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8786639.PN.&OS=PN/8786639RS=PN/8786639

Keywords for this news article include: Software, Apple Inc., Word Processing.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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