Apple has filed a patent (number 8,378,972) with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for an adaptive audio feedback system and method. Various techniques for adaptively varying audio feedback data on an electronic device are provided.
Here’s Apple’s background and summary of the invention: “Electronic computing devices, such as computer systems, mobile phones, digital media players, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and the like, are commonly used for various personal and/or work-related purposes. Such electronic devices typically include some type of user interface that enables a user to interact with various applications (e.g., e-mail programs, internet browsers, media players, games, etc.) on the device to perform a variety of functions.
“In other words, the user interface may provide a gateway through which users may interact with applications to receive content, information, as well as responses to user inputs. The user interface, therefore, is an integral part in the design of these applications and helps determine the ease of use, and thus the quality of the overall user experience, of such devices.
“Historically, many electronic devices have relied upon a graphical user interface to allow a user to interact with the device by way of a visual display. For instance, as the user interacts with the device, the device may display visual feedback in response to the user’s actions. However, as some types of electronic devices have migrated towards smaller form factors having relatively small visual displays, graphical user interfaces are becoming not only more difficult to use and navigate, but also more limited in the amount of information they are able to convey.
“More recently, audio user interfaces have experienced a rise in popularity. For instance, an audio user interface may supply audio feedback data, instead of or in addition to visual feedback, to convey information and content to a user and, thus, are particularly well suited for use in electronic devices having limited visual display capabilities or, in some instances, no visual display capabilities at all. For instance, upon the occurrence of an event that requests audio feedback, a corresponding audio clip may be played to convey audio information about the occurring event to the user.
“Unfortunately, some events may be associated with large amounts of audio information, which may overwhelm a user and, therefore, negatively impact the user experience, particularly when such events occur repeatedly in close proximity within a relatively short time period. Additionally, audio feedback provided by conventional audio user interfaces may not adequately enable a user to distinguish between events of high or low contextual importance. Accordingly, there are continuing efforts to further improve the user experience with respect to audio user interfaces in electronic devices.
“In one embodiment, an audio user interface implementing certain aspects of the present disclosure may devolve or evolve the verbosity of audio feedback in response to user interface events based at least partially upon the verbosity level of audio feedback provided during previous occurrences of the user interface event. In another embodiment, an audio user interface may be configured to vary the verbosity of audio feedback associated with a navigable list of items based at least partially upon the speed at which a user navigates the list. In a further embodiment, an audio user interface may be configured to vary audio feedback verbosity based upon the contextual importance of a user interface event. Electronic devices implementing the present techniques provide an improved user experience with regard to audio user interfaces.”
The inventors are Benjamin Andrew Rottler, Aram Lindahl, Allen Paul Haughay, Shawn A. Ellis and Policarpo Wood.