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Task Environment Setup

In task environment setup for low complexity treatment subjects perform with Elastic Windows almost as fast as with the independent overlapping windows. As expected, with only two windows the differences between the two interfaces are not significant. This result is in fact good news that Elastic Windows comes with no extra costs at low complexities. Thus, it is on safe grounds.

For medium and high complexities subjects perform much faster with Elastic Windows compared to independent overlapping windows. In fact, the difference increases dramatically as the number of windows increase. Taking the Elastic Windows as the reference, on the average subjects perform 57% faster in medium, and 367% faster in the high task complexity. It is more interesting that the mean times are less than linearly dependent in the Elastic Windows treatment indicating that it is more scalable compared to independent overlapping windows.

The high standard deviation for the high complexity task environment setup in the independent overlapping windows is mainly due to the diverse approaches taken by the subjects in the organization of windows.

In Elastic Windows, steps for setting up a task environment include opening a container window, selecting multiple pieces of task related information, and dragging and dropping them in the container window. It is a general practice among subjects to maximize the container window to full screen for better visibility.

In the independent overlapping windows, each icon has to be double-clicked in the file manager window and each window must be placed appropriately on the screen, one by one. In this approach, the setup times are heavily dependent on the number of windows. However, the dependency is observed to be higher than linear since as the number of windows on the screen increases, it becomes much more difficult to arrange windows in a crowded screen.

Multiple selection and open can easily be added to the existing windowing systems, but what is lacking in current systems is a framework to identify and operate on multiple windows as a group, such as the container window in Elastic Windows.

next up previous
Next: Task Environment Switching Up: Discussion Previous: Discussion

Eser Kandogan
Sun Sep 13 18:34:46 EDT 1998

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