Informatics Informatics Department Methodology of Window Management

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Preface

This volume is a record of the Workshop on Window Management held at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory's Cosener's House between 29 April and 1 May 1985. The main impetus for the Workshop came from the Alvey Programme's Man-Machine Interface Director who was concerned at the lack of a formal definition of window management and the lack of focus for research activities in this area. Window Management per se is not the complete problem in understanding interaction. However, the appearance of bitmap displays from a variety of vendors enabling an operator to work simultaneously with a number of applications on a single display has focussed attention on what the overall architecture for such a system should be and also on what the interfaces to both the application and operator should be.

The format of the Workshop was to spend the first day with presentations from a number of invited speakers. The aim was to get the participants aware of the current state of the art and to highlight the main outstanding issues. The second day consisted of the Workshop participants splitting into three groups and discussing specific issues in depth. Plenary sessions helped to keep the individual groups working on similar lines. The third day concentrated on the individual groups presenting their results and interacting with the other groups to identify main areas of consensus and also a framework for future work.

Part I of this volume gives the background to the Workshop, its scope and goals.

Part II consists of position papers, the invited presentations and an edited version of the discussion following each. The set of speakers covers a significant part of the expertise currently available. This section provided a useful summary of the state-of-the-art for the Workshop and highlighted the issues.

Each participant was asked to identify his major areas of concern prior to the Workshop. These have been condensed and integrated to give a view of the problems prior to the Workshop. Lists of issues were also generated from these contributions and the invited presentations. These formed an initial basis for the Working Group discussions reported in the next part.

Part III concentrates on the work carried out in the Working Groups with particular attention focussed on the Working Group conclusions and questions requiring further study.

Part IV presents the main conclusions of the Workshop and includes an Open List of questions requiring further study. This list indicates the current limits to the understanding achieved at the Workshop. As always, more questions were raised than conclusions reached. This part also includes a bibliography of the area and a glossary of terms used in the book.

The discussion sessions have been heavily edited. The Editors hope that no remarks have been attributed to individuals incorrectly. Copies of the typescript were sent to all participants for comment prior to publication.

The contents of this volume should not be considered as definitive conclusions but as a contribution to the study of methodology in human-computer interaction particularly with respect to single user workstations.

This book should be of interest to anybody with an interest in graphics and interaction in general. Many of the issues discussed have a more general applicability than the particular area under discussion. However, the primary audience is those directly involved in the area of the human factors and design of systems on high-powered single user workstations.