We have attempted to determine the extended requirements of multi-window systems adjusted for today's applications and technology. Characteristics of modern applications demand more functionality than what is available in today's windowing environments. Multi-window operations, organization of windows by tasks, and capability to handle frequent task-switching without demanding extensive cognitive abilities are some of the requirements of future windowing systems.
Elastic windows is a space-filling hierarchical tiled approach that we believe satisfies the requirements. We believe it is particularly useful for complex systems like CAD/CAM systems, and Object Oriented Software Development systems. Application of elastic window ideas in WWW Browsing seems promising by the introduction of textual objects which can be associated with windows or hierarchies of windows. Coordination of windows by task, like synchronized scrolling, hierarchical browsing, and direct selection, will be studied. Both the usability of the window management operations and their comprehensibility need experimentation, but users are attracted to the graceful animations of elastic window interactions.
The possibility of using overlapping windows to provide multi-window operations and providing a layout that enable users to group windows and apply operations on them is on our agenda of future research directions.
A video demo on elastic windows is available as part of the HCIL
Open House'96 video report.
Contact email@example.com for ordering information.
Refer to http://www.cs.umd.edu/projects/hcil/ for further information on the project.