1 GRAPHICS ITEMS THAT EXTEND OUTSIDE A BACKGROUND PERIMETER
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/768,820, entitled “GRAPHICS ITEMS THAT EXTEND OUTSIDE A BACKGROUND PERIMETER” and filed on Jun. 26, 2007, which is a continuationin-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/891,733 (now U.S. Pat. No. 7,274,382), entitled “CUSTOMIZABLE BACKGROUND SIZES AND CONTROLS FOR CHANGING BACKGROUND SIZE” and filed on Jul. 15, 2004, which claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/487,760, filed Jul. 16, 2003, and entitled “CUSTOMIZABLE USER INTERFACE BACKGROUND SIZES”. The entirety of each of the abovereferenced applications is incorporated by reference herein.
This invention relates to graphics items used with a graphics-based user interface. More particularly, the present invention relates to positioning, sizing, and usage of graphics items outside a background.
Computers and computer programs employ a graphicsbased user interface to facilitate interaction between a user and a computer or between the user and a computer program run on the computer. The graphics-based user interface commonly employs a background, which includes a bitmap digitally represented by an array of pixel values.
Conventional backgrounds maximally fill the entire twodimensional display area for a display device, such as a cathode ray tube (CRT) or liquid crystal display (LCD) screen. The background size cannot be manipulated, selected, or changed by a useriits maximal size remains singularly and stringently fixed. The background also defines the usable limits of the graphics-based user interface. Graphics items, such as windows, used with the graphics-based user interface are limited to positioning and display within the background perimeter.
Described herein are methods and systems that allow a user to manually reposition or size a graphics item or background such that a portion of the graphics item resides outside a perimeter of the background.
In one aspect, the present invention relates to a method of customizing an operating space for a graphics-based user interface. The method includes displaying a background and a graphics item in the background. The method also includes displaying a graphics tool configured to permit a user to reposition or resize the graphics item or the background such that a portion of the graphics item resides outside the background. The method further includes receiving input from the user that indicates a change in the graphics item or a change in the background such that a portion of the graphics item resides outside the background. The method additionally includes displaying the graphics item with the portion of the graphics item residing outside the background.
In one embodiment, the graphics item includes an anchor that is not permitted to be positioned outside a perimeter of the background. This provides spatial continuity between the background and graphics item.
In another aspect, the present invention relates to a computer readable medium including instructions for customizing an operating space for a graphics-based user interface.
These and other features of the present invention will be presented in more detail in the following detailed description of the invention and the associated figures.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1A shows an illustrative spatial relationship between three graphics items and a background in accordance with a specific embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 1B illustrates the customization of a background and three graphics items to increase spatial utilization of a cubicle wall or oflice wall in accordance with a specific embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2A shows anchor points for the graphics items of FIG. 1A in accordance with a specific embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2B shows sample permissible movements of a pointer in accordance with a specific embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 3 illustrates a process flow for customizing an operating space included with a graphics-based user interface in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary computer system suitable for implementing the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
The present invention will now be described in detail with reference to a few preferred embodiments thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without some or all of these specific details. In other instances, well known process steps and/or structures have not been described in detail in order to not unnecessarily obscure the present invention.
Described herein are embodiments that permit a user to customize the spatial relationship between a graphics item and a background such that a portion of the graphics item resides outside the background perimeter.
In one embodiment, methods and systems described herein allow a user to manually change and customize a background size for a background used with a graphics-based user interface. Changing the background size typically reduces the background size to less than a maximum image size available from a display device. For example, a user may shape or size a background to fit a workspace or other area, such as the walls of cubicle (see FIG. 1B for example).
Windows and other graphics items may then be moved and shaped outside the size-reduced background to further permit manual customization of a workspace.
Since conventional backgrounds were stringently restricted to a single maximum size, users conformed to limited practice with a graphics-based user interface. The methods and systems described herein, however, allow for expanded interaction between a user and graphics-based user interface. This interaction may include: i) tailoring a background shape, size and aspect ratio, and ii) moving or sizing one or more graphics items that such a portion of the one or more graphics items resides outside the customized background.
This enables tailored background sizes and graphics items displayed at least partially outside the background, based on