User Interface Methods, Such as for Customer Self-Support on a Mobile Device
A method for providing a localized, context-sensitive user interface (100) for mobile devices is presented. The mobile device may automatically display (120) information received from the network, and update settings on the device when network status changes. A user interface for readily accessing common functions permits efficient navigation on the mobile device. In addition, help buttons (110) are provided that allow subscribers to access customer support services without dialing a customer support number.
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/546,687, filed Feb. 20, 2004, entitled CALL INTERCEPT METHODS FOR CUSTOMER SELF SUPPORT AND METHODS FOR NAVIGATING DATA SCREENS, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/590,152, filed Jul. 21, 2004, entitled MOBILE DEVICE ASSISTANCE, MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT, AND CALL INTERCEPTOR FOR MOBILE DEVICES, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/611,607, filed Sep. 21, 2004, entitled SECURE MOBILE DEVICE SOFTWARE EXECUTION, HELP-SUPPORT-CARE INITIATION FOR MOBILE DEVICES, AND SMART NETWORK CONFIGURATION SELECTION FOR MOBILE DEVICES, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application ______, filed Feb. 11, 2005, entitled CALL INTERCEPT METHODS, SUCH AS FOR CUSTOMER SELF-SUPPORT ON A MOBILE DEVICE (attorney docket number 41658.8001).BACKGROUND
Current methods for providing technical support to a mobile device often require a subscriber to diagnose and to correct mobile device settings, configurations, and preferences on their own. This often requires a large degree of input from the subscriber and may decrease efficiency in the time it takes for a user to identify and to correct technical issues on their mobile device. Subscribers may be required to contact the network from their mobile device to retrieve updated mobile device configurations or settings. This may congest the network and may increase the time it takes to receive the correct mobile device configurations and settings. In some instances, the mobile device itself may attempt to provide training to the subscriber. However, the training may often be presented at the wrong times and may not necessarily assist the subscriber in resolving setting and configuration issues. The training may not prompt the subscriber at appropriate times with training. In addition, a subscriber attempting to use an application running on their mobile device for the first time may become frustrated by the lack of training for first time use.
Problems also exist with accessing customer support features. For example, a subscriber may need to dial a customer support number to access customer support. This often requires that the subscriber remember certain customer support numbers (e.g., “611”) and that the subscriber wait for prolonged periods of time to complete customer support calls. In addition, customer support solutions may need to be retrieved from a network, congesting the network and increasing the time it takes to receive customer support solutions.
Problems associated with navigating screens on a mobile device also exist. A subscriber may typically attempt to navigate screens by using a touch screen. Using a touch screen often requires a large amount of scrolling and a large number of keystrokes pressed.
The headings provided herein are for convenience only and do not necessarily affect the scope or meaning of the claimed invention.
In the drawings, the same reference numbers and acronyms identify elements or acts with the same or similar functionality for ease of understanding and convenience. To easily identify the discussion of any particular element or act, the most significant digit or digits in a reference number refer to the Figure number in which that element is first introduced (e.g., element 604 is first introduced and discussed with respect to
A portion of this disclosure contains material to which a claim for copyright is made. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or patent disclosure (including the Figures) as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but the copyright owner reserves all other copyright rights whatsoever.DETAILED DESCRIPTION
The invention will now be described with respect to various embodiments. The following description provides specific details for a thorough understanding of, and enabling description for, these embodiments of the invention. However, one skilled in the art will understand that the invention may be practiced without these details. In other instances, well-known structures and functions have not been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the description of the embodiments of the invention.
It is intended that the terminology used in the description presented below be interpreted in its broadest reasonable manner, even though it is being used in conjunction with a detailed description of certain specific embodiments of the invention. Certain terms may even be emphasized below; however, any terminology intended to be interpreted in any restricted manner will be overtly and specifically defined as such in this Detailed Description section.Suitable System
Aspects of the invention can be embodied in a special purpose computing device or data processor that is specifically programmed, configured, or constructed to perform one or more of the computer-executable instructions explained in detail herein. Aspects of the invention may also be practiced in distributed computing environments where tasks or modules are performed by remote processing devices, which are linked through a communications network, such as a Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), or the Internet. In a distributed computing environment, program modules may be located in both local and remote memory storage devices.
Aspects of the invention may be stored or distributed on computer-readable media, including magnetically or optically readable computer discs, hard-wired or preprogrammed chips (e.g., EEPROM semiconductor chips), nanotechnology memory, biological memory, or other data storage media. Indeed, computer implemented instructions, data structures, screen displays, and other data under aspects of the invention may be distributed over the Internet or over other networks (including wireless networks), on a propagated signal on a propagation medium (e.g., an electromagnetic wave(s), a sound wave, etc.) over a period of time, or they may be provided on any analog or digital network (packet switched, circuit switched, or other scheme). Those skilled in the relevant art will recognize that portions of the invention reside on a server computer, while corresponding portions reside on a client computer such as a mobile or portable device, and thus, while certain hardware platforms are described herein, aspects of the invention are equally applicable to nodes on a network.
The handset-based services 200 may include executable software, software configurations, hardware configurations and controls, and handset operating system interfaces. As disclosed herein, executable software may include, without limitation, any software program stored on the mobile device or associated memory device, both permanently and temporarily connected via hardware or wireless connectivity. The mobile device 100 may include an authentication system 208 (e.g., via a SIM), a hardware interface 210, a report system 212, a script interface 214, a script platform 216, data 218, and scripts 220. The network-based services 204 may include a network or networks 206, mobile network services 222, a mobile network operator customer service system 224, a host information management system 226, updated scripts 228, and report data 230. The components of the mobile device 100 and the network-based services 204 will be described below.
The components within the mobile device 100 allow the device to integrate both handset-based services 200 and network-based services 204. The authentication system 208 can implement SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card-based or standalone authentication to meet network requirements for desired levels of security. Authenticating a system to meet network requirements may not be required but is often recommended.
The hardware interface 210 may retrieve hardware interface elements required for interfacing with network or phone-based customer support services. Examples of hardware interface elements include changing volume, changing frequency, retrieving SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) ID, connection status from the SIM or radio hardware, and others. The report system 212 may collect and forward the data reported by the mobile device to the network 206. The report system 212 can also encrypt the handset identification information to provide increased security. The information can be encoded so that only the host information management system 226 can decipher the handset identification information.
The script interface 214 serves as a standard application programming interface for customer support services. More specifically, the script interface 214 provides an interface between scripts 220 and the various hardware-specific and executable, program-specific functions. The script interface 214 allows a single customer service script to be deployed across multiple operating systems and hardware configurations. In addition, the script interface 214 includes a standard API (Application Programming Interface) for both the hardware/OS side and the script interface.
The script platform 216 can mix and match calls through the script interface to acquire information, to change or correct settings on the phone, and to perform additional functions as described below. The script platform 216 authenticates, runs, and updates all scripts 220, manages reporting updates and changes, communicates with the host information management system 226, communicates with the GUI (Graphical User Interface), and manages customer surveys and interviews. The host information management system 226 can push a notification to the script platform 216 via USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Services Data), SMS (Short Message Service), IP (Internet Protocol), or any other network connectivity that the mobile device supports. The script platform 216 can run the scripts 220 after authentication, and the scripts 220 can be authenticated to the network 206 or to the phone.
The components within the network-based services 204 allow the mobile device 100 to communicate with and to retrieve data from the network 206. The network-based services 204 may include wired and wireless systems. The mobile network services 222 may consist of one or more systems including billing, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), provisioning, and others. Furthermore, mobile network services 222 are able to return data calls made by mobile devices via standard network protocols (e.g., IP, DTMF (Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency), SMS, USSD, etc.).
The mobile network operator customer service system 224 may also consist of one or more systems relating to customer service, including billing, CRM, provisioning, and others. The host information management system 226 controls interactions between the mobile device and the host customer support system. The host information management system 226 can transmit updates to the mobile device. The mobile device typically employs a unique handset ID or serial number, and a mobile phone number. The report data 230 provides storage for report information gathered from the mobile device. The updated scripts 228 consist of scripts that the host customer support system provides to the mobile device. The updated scripts 228 can be managed and versioned as desired by the host information management system 226, can be targeted at specific subscribers or groups of subscribers, and can include requests for reports and customer interview surveys. Further details regarding customer self-support may be found in PCT Patent Application No. ______, entitled “Call Intercept Methods, such as for Customer Self-Support on a Mobile Device”, assigned to the assignee of this application, and filed concurrently herewith.Representative User Interface Displays and Techniques
If a subscriber selects an option to change the display appearance on the mobile device (block 304), then the mobile device provides the subscriber with options to alter the appearance of the display (e.g., brand name, shading layers, multiple time zones, status of mobile device, status of network, etc.—block 305). This is one example of facilitating user configuration of the device—many others are possible.
The mobile device may also check to see if new or updated information is available for the mobile device (block 306). For example, information can refer to scripts or other software executables that can be downloaded from the network to the mobile device. If new information is available, then the mobile device downloads and installs the information (block 308). If new information is not available, then the phone proceeds to receiving and processing a dialed number once again.
Changing the display appearance on the mobile device may include superimposing branding on the mobile device's wallpaper, displaying two time zones when the mobile device recognizes transition to a new time zone, and others, as described below. For example, in response to accessing customer care, the mobile device can display a ticker across the top of the screen that says, e.g.: “Welcome to customer care: the average wait time is five minutes. You may now look at the screen below to help resolve problems or answer questions more quickly.” The message may pertain to the wait time to connect to a call center, may prompt the subscriber to look at the bottom portion of the screen to resolve questions locally, or others. In addition, the mobile device may display dynamic information regarding phone status, network status, the wait time for connecting to a call center, and others.
In general, the screen displays of
The screens may be stored as display descriptions, graphical user interfaces, or other methods of depicting information on a computer screen (e.g., commands, links, fonts, colors, layout, sizes and relative positions, and the like), where the layout and information or content to be displayed on the page is stored in a database. In general, a “link” refers to any resource locator identifying a resource on a network, such as a display description provided by an organization having a site or node on the network. A “display description,” as generally used herein, refers to any method of automatically displaying information on a computer screen in any of the above-noted formats, as well as other formats, such as email or character/code-based formats, algorithm-based formats (e.g., vector generated), Flash format, or matrix, or bit-mapped formats.
Automatic Data Display and Device Configuration
The service provider may provide different levels of service to different groups of subscribers. For example,
Under a mezzanine level of service (depicted in
Overall, data displayed in the screens of
When a mobile device enters a new network, the mobile device may automatically re-configure the network settings to allow a successful connection to a newly entered network and to automatically re-configure aspects of the mobile device.
Once the network ID associated with the mobile device has been determined, the mobile device determines locally if the device is still connected to the same network ID or if the device has changed network ID (block 910). If the mobile device is still connected to the same network ID, then the mobile device continues to use the existing network settings (block 912). If the mobile device is connected to a different network ID, then the mobile device queries the local database based on the new network ID (block 914). The mobile device may access a configuration settings database stored on the mobile device to automatically change settings on the device. (block 916). The mobile device may also remotely retrieve from the network updated network IDs (and configuration settings) (block 918) to update the locally stored configuration settings database.
After looking up the network ID in the database (block 914), the mobile device may verify if new network configuration settings are available locally on the mobile device based on the network ID (block 920). If the new network configuration settings are not available locally on the mobile device, then the subscriber may receive a message from the mobile device indicating that new settings are not available (block 922), and the mobile device continues to use the existing settings (block 924). However, if new network configuration settings are available locally on the mobile device, then the mobile device may automatically change the network settings and configuration (block 926), and the user may then continue normal use of the mobile device (block 928). Thus the local database stored on the mobile device includes configuration settings associated with multiple network IDs. The mobile device retrieves new configuration settings based on newly received network IDs and automatically changes or updates settings on the mobile device based on the new configuration settings retrieved from the local database. In an alternative embodiment, the mobile device may retrieve network configuration settings from the network, and not store any locally.User Input Techniques
Various methods for navigating data screens or performing desired functions on a mobile or remote device will now be described.
In the example depicted in
The mobile device may assist the subscriber in selecting the same functionality as they navigate to multiple screens (“sticky icons”). For example, if the subscriber indicates or highlights the “X” icon 1006 and selects or presses the center action button to select that icon and delete the current item, then the next item displayed (e.g. in a next screen) would be displayed with the ‘X’ icon 1006 already highlighted. This is opposed to the usual practice of having the default icon selected when one file is deleted, but then displaying the next screen with no icon or function highlighted or “queued up.” In this manner, icons can be automatically selected to speed up navigation by reducing the number of keystrokes required for common navigation. The currently highlighted icon may be indicated by a distinguishing color, such as light blue. In an alternate embodiment, if a particular icon is highlighted (e.g., the left hand X icon 1006), then selecting a left button on the joystick/4-way-pad would be defined to have the equivalent function of the center action button. This may allow the subscriber to more easily perform repetitive functions, such as executing multiple “back” operations to go back to a previous screen, or to delete a series of consecutive emails.
In an alternative embodiment, an existing special purpose button or key on the mobile device may have a second mode when it is pressed and held, so as to launch and display a menu that includes one or more customer care options. For example, by pressing and holding a power button on a mobile device 1108, the button may perform a different function, namely causing a menu to be displayed that allows subscribers to select one or more customer care menu items or to simply place a customer care call/launch customer help functionality. In a third embodiment, a common button (e.g., number key) that normally performs non-customer care functions may be used to perform customer care functions (mobile device 1110). One method for initiating this dual function would be to press and hold the common button, such as pressing and holding the “0” button.CONCLUSION
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, throughout the description and the claims, the words “comprise,” “comprising,” and the like are to be construed in an inclusive sense, as opposed to an exclusive or exhaustive sense; that is to say, in the sense of “including, but not limited to.” As used herein, the terms “connected,” “coupled,” or any variant thereof, means any connection or coupling, either direct or indirect, between two or more elements; the coupling of connection between the elements can be physical, logical, or a combination thereof. Additionally, the words “herein,” “above,” “below,” and words of similar import, when used in this application, shall refer to this application as a whole and not to any particular portions of this application. Where the context permits, words in the above Detailed Description using the singular or plural number may also include the plural or singular number respectively. The word “or,” in reference to a list of two or more items, covers all of the following interpretations of the word: any of the items in the list, all of the items in the list, and any combination of the items in the list.
The above detailed description of embodiments of the invention is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed above. While specific embodiments of, and examples for, the invention are described above for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications are possible within the scope of the invention, as those skilled in the relevant art will recognize. For example, while processes or blocks are presented in a given order, alternative embodiments may perform routines having steps, or employ systems having blocks, in a different order, and some processes or blocks may be deleted, moved, added, subdivided, combined, and/or modified. Each of these processes or blocks may be implemented in a variety of different ways. Also, while processes or blocks are at times shown as being performed in series, these processes or blocks may instead be performed in parallel, or may be performed at different times.
The teachings of the invention provided herein can be applied to other systems, not necessarily the system described above. The elements and acts of the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments.
All of the above patents and applications and other references, including any that may be listed in accompanying filing papers, are incorporated herein by reference. Aspects of the invention can be modified, if necessary, to employ the systems, functions, and concepts of the various references described above to provide yet further embodiments of the invention.
These and other changes can be made to the invention in light of the above Detailed Description. While the above description details certain embodiments of the invention and describes the best mode contemplated, no matter how detailed the above appears in text, the invention can be practiced in many ways. Details of the local-based support system may vary considerably in its implementation details, while still being encompassed by the invention disclosed herein. As noted above, particular terminology used when describing certain features or aspects of the invention should not be taken to imply that the terminology is being redefined herein to be restricted to any specific characteristics, features, or aspects of the invention with which that terminology is associated. In general, the terms used in the following claims should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification, unless the above Detailed Description section explicitly defines such terms. Accordingly, the actual scope of the invention encompasses not only the disclosed embodiments, but also all equivalent ways of practicing or implementing the invention under the claims.
While certain aspects of the invention are presented below in certain claim forms, the inventors contemplate the various aspects of the invention in any number of claim forms. For example, while only one aspect of the invention is recited as embodied in a computer-readable medium, other aspects may likewise be embodied in a computer-readable medium. Accordingly, the inventors reserve the right to add additional claims after filing the application to pursue such additional claim forms for other aspects of the invention.
1. A portable wireless telecommunication apparatus for exchanging communications with a wireless network, the apparatus comprising:
- a display screen;
- at least one input device that includes a four-way joystick or keypad;
- a radio;
- memory; and
- a processor coupled to the display screen, input device, radio, and memory, wherein the processor is programmed to: automatically gather information from the wireless network; automatically display the gathered information on the display screen; automatically gather additional information from the wireless network; automatically update the display on the display screen with the gathered additional information without input from a user to request updating of the display; display multiple icons or commands associated with functions of at least one application executed on the wireless telecommunication apparatus, wherein the multiple icons or commands are displayed in a horizontal row or vertical column on the display screen; in response to user actuation of the four-way joystick or keypad and selection, highlight and select one of the multiple icons or commands; execute the function associated with the selected one of the multiple icons or commands; and
- wherein the wireless telecommunication apparatus includes an input button, coupled to the processor, for initiating a customer support call or local help function when the user actuates the input button.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the four-way joystick or keypad includes an associated selection button to generate the selection, wherein the multiple icons or commands are associated with functions performed by an electronic mail, electronic messaging or calendaring application executed by the processor, and
- wherein the additional information gathered includes at least two of the following: local and home location current times, name of new network service provider when accessing a new wireless network, loss of certain functionality when accessing a new wireless network, wireless service plan balance, expiration date of a certain wireless service component, number of wireless service minutes used, number of wireless service minutes remaining, number of SMS messages sent, or number of SMS messages permitted or remaining under the wireless service plan.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising:
- an automated data collection device, a biometric reader, or media output device coupled to the processor.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the additional information gathered includes at least two of the following: local and home location current times, name of new network service provider when accessing a new wireless network, loss of certain functionality when accessing a new wireless network, wireless service plan balance, expiration date of a certain wireless service component, number of wireless service minutes used, number of wireless service minutes remaining, number of SMS messages sent, or number of SMS messages permitted or remaining under the wireless service plan.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the four-way joystick or keypad includes an associated selection button to generate the selection, wherein the multiple icons or commands are associated with functions performed by an electronic mail, electronic messaging, word processing, spreadsheet, calculator, contacts, or calendaring application executed by the processor.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the processor is further programmed to:
- display a new screen of data, and
- automatically highlight the one of the multiple icons or commands previously selected, and
- if a particular one of the multiple icons or commands is highlighted, then a select button or switch on the four-way joystick or keypad to be temporarily reconfigured to have an equivalent function of a center action button of the four-way joystick or keypad.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the input button is a dedicated button on the wireless telecommunication apparatus, or is a dual-function keypad button that initiates the customer support call or local help function when the user actuates and holds the dual-function keypad button.
8. A method for navigating data screens on a mobile device, the method comprising:
- displaying a first screen, within a sequence of screens, containing data and multiple displayed elements for performing particular functions associated with the displayed screen;
- receiving user input to indicate one of the multiple displayed elements;
- selecting the one indicated element to perform a function corresponding with the one indicated element;
- performing the function corresponding with the one indicated element;
- after performing the function, displaying a next screen within the sequence of screens; and
- indicating for selection, within the next screen, the one element indicated and selected in the first screen.
9. The method of claim 8 wherein the indicating includes using a distinctive color to indicate the one element for selection.
10. A computer-readable medium storing a display description for permitting a mobile device display to provide for navigating and selecting of multiple functions, the display comprising:
- a first screen portion displaying data; and
- a second screen portion displaying an action ribbon having multiple elements for performing particular functions associated with the displayed data, wherein: receiving navigation commands from at least one input device on the apparatus permits execution of the navigation commands when a user navigates to an area within the action ribbon of the second screen portion, and disabling the navigation commands when a user selects an area within the first screen portion, but not within the action ribbon of the second screen portion.
11. The computer-readable medium of claim 10 wherein a particular intensity of display indicates a selected area within the action ribbon of the second screen portion, and wherein a selected area within the action ribbon may execute multiple functions.
12. The computer-readable medium of claim 10 wherein the action ribbon includes multiple icons each associated with a different function performed by an electronic mail, electronic messaging, word processing, spreadsheet, calculator, contacts, or calendaring application running on the apparatus.
13. The computer-readable medium of claim 10 wherein the second screen portion is overlaid upon the first screen portion.
14. An apparatus for permitting a user to access customer support functions associated with wireless telecommunications service or with operation of a wireless mobile device, the apparatus comprising:
- button means on the mobile device for user-selection;
- means for receiving user-selection of the button means, the selection occurring in a particular manner based upon how the button means functions; and
- means for displaying, in response to the user-selection, an indication of customer support functions for the mobile device and for user-selection for execution on the mobile device.
15. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the button means is a special purpose button on the mobile device.
16. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the button means includes a dual purpose special button on the mobile device.
17. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the button means includes a dual purpose common button on the mobile device, and wherein the means for receiving includes means for receiving the user-selection of the dual purpose common button to initiate the indication of the customer support functions by detecting pressing and holding of the dual purpose common button.
18. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the button means includes a dual purpose common button on the mobile device.
19. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the button means includes a dual purpose common button on the mobile device, and wherein actuation of the common button launches a menu display that includes the indication of customer support functions.
20. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the means for displaying includes means for displaying, on the mobile device, a menu identifying customer support functions for the mobile device.
21. A computer-readable medium whose contents cause at least one telecommunication mobile device to perform a method to provide automatic network access configuration for the mobile device, the method comprising:
- accessing a network using the mobile device;
- receiving at the mobile device and from the network a carrier identification associated with transmission of wireless signals over the network;
- looking up access configuration settings for the network based on the carrier identification, wherein the access configuration settings are locally stored in a database on the telecommunication mobile device; and
- automatically configuring the telecommunication mobile device for communication over the network using the locally stored access configuration settings.
22. The computer-readable medium of claim 21 wherein the receiving includes receiving, associated with the carrier identification, a country code, a carrier identifier, and a cell-tower identifier.
23. The computer-readable medium of claim 21 wherein the looking up includes determining that the local database lacks the access configuration settings, and accessing form the network new access configuration settings for storage in the database of the telecommunication mobile device.
24. The computer-readable medium of claim 21 wherein the computer-readable medium is a memory of the mobile device.
25. The computer-readable medium of claim 21 wherein the computer-readable medium is a logical node in a network receiving the contents.
26. The computer-readable medium of claim 21 wherein the computer-readable medium is a computer-readable disk.
27. The computer-readable medium of claim 21 wherein the computer-readable medium is a data transmission medium carrying a generated data signal containing the contents.
28. A method for automatically displaying information on a mobile telecommunications device, where the mobile telecommunications device exchanges communications with a wireless network, and wherein the wireless network in coupled to a server that has access to wireless subscriber information, the method comprising:
- automatically gathering information from the wireless network, wherein the information is not, or is in addition to, wireless signal strength and network status;
- automatically providing the gathered information to the mobile telecommunications device so that the gathered information may be readily perceived by a wireless subscriber associated with the mobile telecommunications device;
- automatically gathering additional information from the wireless network, wherein the additional information includes information associated with an account of the wireless subscriber; and
- automatically providing the additional information to the mobile telecommunications device so that the additional information may be readily perceived by the wireless subscriber without input from the wireless subscriber requesting the additional information.
29. The method of claim 28, further comprising receiving input from the wireless subscriber to call a customer service number before the automatically gathering of the additional information.