Elastic Windows: Evaluation of Multi-Window Operations
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Most windowing systems follow the independent overlapping windows approach, which emerged as an answer to the needs of the 1980s' technology. Due to advances in computers and display technology, and increased information needs, modern users demand more functionality from window management systems. We proposed Elastic Windows with improved spatial layout and rapid multi-window operations as an alternative to current window management strategies for efficient personal role management [kandogan]. In this approach, multi-window operations are achieved by issuing operations on window groups hierarchically organized in a space-filling tiled layout. This paper describes the Elastic Windows interface briefly and then presents a study comparing user performance with Elastic Windows and traditional window management techniques for 2, 6, and 12 window situations. Elastic Windows users had statistically significantly faster performance for all 6 and 12 window situations, for task environment setup, task environment switching, and task execution. These results suggest promising possibilities for multiple window operations and hierarchical nesting, which can be applied to the next generation of tiled as well as overlapped window managers.