"The user can access the cellular environment at any of a number of zoom states. At each zoom state, one or more cells are arranged geometrically in the cellular environment, the arrangement depending at least in part on the zoom state. Content to be outputted via each cell or group of cells at a particular zoom state is obtained by resolving a content reference associated with the cell or with a group of cells at the zoom state. Different cells or different groups of cells can be associated with different content references. The content to be outputted via a cell at each zoom state includes a visual representation such as an image, text, video, or graphic. Visual representations of information at each zoom state provide simultaneous access to content from various underlying information objects via a uniform interface. Visual representations also provide visual cues (e.g. red cells indicate fast-changing stock price) that facilitate a user's navigation decisions. Further, visual representations outputted via cells can be supplemented by non-visual content, such as audio output, that provide access to information and facilitate navigation.
"Cells arranged geometrically in a cellular environment are capable of outputting different types of content depending on the zoom state. According to one embodiment, zooming in to a cell outputs content associated with the cell in greater level of detail. According to another embodiment, zooming in to a cell displays a plurality of cells for outputting content associated with the cell. The content associated with a cell or with a group of cells at different zoom states can be in different media types such as audio, video, text, images and graphics. Further, the content associated with a cell or a group of cells at different zoom states can be obtained from different data sources. The data sources can be local or remotely located on a network. Examples of data sources include websites, databases, RSS feeds, podcasts, and television broadcasts. Content at different zoom states can also have different formats and can be accessible using different native applications. The content formats can include application-specific formats for spreadsheets, text files, word processing files, images, database files, web pages, audio files, video files, etc. Further, content associated with a cell at different zoom states can have different semantic density, thereby providing a user with additional details as he zooms closer to the cellular environment. By selecting different zoom states, users can also increase the resolution of a cell or change the quality of its content.
"Each cell is configured to be able to combine various types of information for presentation at a single zoom state, such as text, audio, video, images, animation, and web page content. Moreover, a cell can combine information from different sources, even if each source has a different format accessible via a unique native application. For example, by converting information from underlying sources into a common format, an individual cell can display text from a text document alongside streaming video from a video file.
"Users can navigate one or more zoom states associated with a cell or a group of cells to access logically related information. Information can be logically related such as when it relates to a common topic or time-period, or when the information is otherwise amenable to some form of common classification. For example, in a situational awareness control center application that provides unified access to information about ongoing emergencies in a city, a user can access information about active fire alarms in one or more zoom states associated with a cellular environment. A first zoom state for a fire alarm cell provides a number representing active fire alarms in a city, while another zoom state provides a map showing the locations of the alarms. A further zoom state for the fire alarm cell provides streaming video of the site where an alarm is occurring. At yet another zoom state, users may interact with an information object in a particular format by invoking a native application associated with that format. While users are focusing on specific information, context information is also available to users by panning, zooming or based on logical relationships between cells in a view.
"The features and advantages described in the specification are not all inclusive and, in particular, many additional features and advantages will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in view of the drawings, specification, and claims. Moreover, it should be noted that the language used in the specification has been principally selected for readability and instructional purposes, and may not have been selected to delineate or circumscribe the inventive subject matter.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 illustrates a sample graphical user interface providing a situational awareness control center for emergency response.
"FIGS. 1A-1C illustrate navigation of a sample graphical user interface for a financial services application according to one embodiment.
"FIG. 1D illustrates navigation of a sample graphical user interface for a construction project application according to one embodiment.
"FIG. 1E illustrates navigation of a sample graphical user interface for a travel planner application according to one embodiment.
"FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating a cellularized environment architecture and its associated cell architecture according to one embodiment.
"FIG. 3A is a block diagram illustrating a sample client configuration according to one embodiment.
"FIG. 3B is a sample user interface for a content development kit module according to one embodiment.
"FIG. 3C is a sample cellular user interface illustrating a cellular environment in flat navigation mode.
"FIG. 3D shows a sample cellular user interface illustrating a cellular environment in spherical navigation mode.
"FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating a relay server system configuration according to one embodiment.
"FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating a scheduled data update system configuration according to one embodiment.
"FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating a live cell system configuration according to one embodiment.
"FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating modules in a client according to one embodiment.
"FIG. 8A is a flowchart of a method for retrieving and outputting content at a zoom state of a cellular environment according to one embodiment.
"FIG. 8B is a flowchart of a method for navigating more than one zoom states for a cellular environment according to one embodiment."
For additional information on this patent application, see:
Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Software, Word Processing.
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