Apple patent reflects novel way of organizing, displaying Internet pages
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Apple patent reflects novel way of organizing, displaying Internet pages

An upcoming version of Safari may show multiple Internet pages in a new way, as evidenced by an Apple patent (number 2010083179) at the US Patent & Trademark Office. The patent is for a visual presentation of multiple Internet pages.

The patent expresses a novel method for graphically organizing and displaying multiple pages of internet content based on how the page was accessed. Pages are determined to be indirectly accessed if they were accessed via a hypertext link or a trail of hypertext links. Pages are determined to be directly accessed if accessed via other means, such as a bookmark or via Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

Page groupings are created for each directly accessed page, and each indirectly accessed page is categorized into a grouping associated with a directly accessed page containing a link through which the indirectly accessed page was accessed. The web pages are presented to the user in an interface that is a graphical representation of the page groupings, wherein a user selects a page to view by first selecting the page's page grouping and then selecting the page. The inventors are Kevin Decker and John W. Sullivan.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "One of the most important and common functions of modern personal computers is providing access to and presenting Internet content. Internet content is typically provided and presented to users by means of an internet browser, such as Safari by Apple Inc., of Cupertino, Calif. or Firefox. made by Mozilla Corp., of Mountain View, Calif. or Internet Explorer made by Microsoft Corp., of Redmond, Wash.

"The increasingly commonplace use of internet browsers and the concomitant growth in quality, quantity, and linkage of Internet content has led to new expectations regarding the ease of navigating the wealth of information found on the internet. With the advent of more sophisticated websites, many of which provide extensive useful content, updated daily or more often, users of internet browsers have begun accessing internet content in new ways. Whereas users once accessed single websites as destinations, perhaps following one or two of the hypertext links therein, users are now more likely to access particular websites as entry points.

"For example, news organizations have built elaborate websites that rival print media in currency and usability. Users may access such a site and find many articles worth reading, each of which is contained in a separate webpage. Furthermore, increasingly savvy authors pepper these articles with hyper-text links to related articles, original sources, or other content of interest, each of which is contained in a separate webpage.

"Another developing internet use model involves what are known in the art as 'aggregators.' Aggregators are websites that perform the function of allowing users to customize what content should be accessible and linked to from the user's customized view of the website. Aggregators are typically used to provide a single point of access to a customized plurality of content-providing web pages to which new content is added regularly, such as web-logs (blogs) and news sites.

"The result of these shifting use patterns is that users are now more likely to access many web pages in parallel, rather than sequentially. As a result, the first model of presenting web content, in which new pages were always opened in new graphical user interface (GUI), windows became inadequate. Having more than one or two web browser windows open is distracting and difficult to manage. The traditional means of switching between GUI windows often identified different windows with only a title, containing the name of the application, which does not provide enough information to the user looking for a window containing a particular web page. Even if more information is included in the title, the information is largely limited to textual information, which can be inadequate or cumbersome to use. Within the multiple-window model, a user cannot easily find a particular web page when he or she has many pages open concurrently.

"Thus, an improved model for presenting multiple pages of web content became popular. This model, known in the art as 'tabbed browsing,' is so named because of the multiple tabs in which a user is provided with content. In this model, multiple web pages are all viewable within a single GUI window, user display 100. The content of the pages is viewable one page at a time, and the view can be switched from one page to another via tabs."

"Unfortunately, tabbed browsing continues to present drawbacks similar to those of the model upon which it sought to improve. Chiefly, a user still cannot easily find a particular web page when he or she has many pages open concurrently. However, once the number of open pages is doubled, or tripled, as is not uncommon for modern internet users, tabbed browsing becomes just as cumbersome as its predecessor model. One solution is to shrink the width of the tabs, which results in their titles being unreadable and leaving the user with no way to identify which tab corresponds to a particular web page for which he or she is searching. An alternative is to allow the tabs to extend off the screen, and provide some means to scroll through them. However, scrolling is not an ideal method of searching for a particular textual title. Indeed, tabbed browsing continues to present a model in which a user must identify a web page based solely on the title of that webpage, when titles often do not provide adequate distinctions between open pages.

"A method for graphically organizing and displaying multiple pages of internet content based on how the page was accessed is described. Pages are determined to be indirectly accessed if they were accessed via a hypertext link or a trail of hypertext links. Pages are determined to be directly accessed if accessed via other means, such as a bookmark or via Uniform Resource Locator (URL). Page groupings are created for each directly accessed page, and each indirectly accessed page is categorized into a grouping associated with a directly accessed page containing a link through which the indirectly accessed page was accessed. The web pages are presented to the user in an interface that is a graphical representation of the page groupings, wherein a user selects a page to view by first selecting the page's page grouping and then selecting the page."

 
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