A window is seen to possess the following
A name or
title, allowing it to be identified. o A size in height and width (which
A state, accessible or active, or not accessible.
(Only active windows can have their contents altered.)
Visibility—the portion that can be seen. (A window
may be partially or fully hidden behind another window, or the information
within a window may extend beyond the window’s display area.)
A location, relative to the display boundary.
Presentation, that is, its arrangement in relation
to other windows. It may be tiled, overlapping, or cascading.
Management capabilities, methods for manipulation
of the window on the screen.
Its highlight, that is, the part that is selected.
The function, task, or application to which it is
The Attraction of Windows
While all the advantages and disadvantages of
windows are still not completely understood, windows do seem to be useful in
the following ways.
Presentation of Different Levels
of Information: A document table of contents can be presented in a window. A chapter or topic selected from
this window can be simultaneously displayed in more detail in an adjoining
of Multiple Kinds of Information: Variable information needed to complete a task can be displayed
simultaneously in adjacent windows. For example in one window billing can be
done and in one window stock maintenance can be done at the same time using
windows. Significant windows could remain displayed so that details may be
modified as needed prior
Presentation of Levels or Kinds of Information: Steps
to accomplish a task can be
sequentially presented through windows. Key windows may remain displayed, but
others appear and disappear as necessary. This sequential preparation is
especially useful if the information-collection process leads down various
Different Sources of Information: Independent sources of
information may have to be accessed
at the same time. Independent sources of information may have to be accessed at
the same time
Multiple Sources of Information: Text from several documents may have to be reviewed and combined
into one. Pertinent information is selected from one window and copied into
More Than One Task: While waiting for a long, complex procedure to finish, another can be performed.
Tasks of higher priority can interrupt less important ones and then the
interrupted tasks can be preceded.
Reminding: It can
be used to provide remainder through messages or popup or menus.
Monitoring: Data in
one window can be modified and its effect on data in another window can be studied.
Representations of the Same Task: the same task can be
represented in two different ways in
two windows. For example a report can be given as table in one window and as a
chart in another window.
Constraints in Window System
Historically, system developers have been much more interested in
solving hardware problems than in user considerations.
This lack of guidelines makes it difficult to develop acceptable and
agreeable window standards.
The result is that developers of new systems create another new
variation each time they design a product, and users must cope with a new
interface each time they encounter a new windowing system.
Either seeing all the contents of one window is
preferable to seeing small parts of many windows or the operational and visual
complexity of multiple windows is not wanted.
Poor screen resolution and graphics capability may
also deter effective use of windows by not permitting sharp and realistic drawings
These window management operations are placed on
top of other system operations, and window management can become an end in
itself. This can severely detract from the task at hand.
The results suggest that advantages for windows do
exist, but they can be negated by excessive window manipulation requirements.
It is also suggested that to be truly effective,
window manipulation must occur implicitly as a result of user task actions, not
as a result of explicit window management actions by the user.
Other possible window problems include the
necessity for window borders to consume valuable screen space, and that small
windows providing access to large amounts of information can lead to excessive,