Proceedings: GI 2004

Revisiting display space management: understanding current practice to inform next-generation design

Dugald Hutchings, John Stasko

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2004: London, Ontario, Canada, 17 - 19 May 2004, 127-134

  • BibTex

    author = {Hutchings, Dugald and Stasko, John},
    title = {Revisiting display space management: understanding current practice to inform next-generation design},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2004},
    series = {GI 2004},
    year = {2004},
    issn = {0-89791-213-6},
    isbn = {1-56881-227-2},
    location = {London, Ontario, Canada},
    pages = {127--134},
    numpages = {8},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada},
    keywords = {Displays},


Most modern computer systems allow the user to control the space allocated to interfaces through a window system. While much of the understanding of how people interact with windows may be regarded as well-known, there are very few reports of documented window management practices. Recent work on larger display spaces indicates that multiple monitor use is becoming more commonplace, and that users are experiencing a variety of usability issues with their window systems. The lack of understanding of how people generally interact with windows implies that future design and evaluation of window managers may not address emerging user needs and display systems. Thus we present a study of people using a variety of window managers and display configurations to illustrate manager- and display-independent space management issues. We illustrate several issues with space management, and each issue includes discussion of the implications of both evaluations and design directions for future window managers. We also present a classification of users' space management styles and relationships to window system types.