Home | | User Interface Design | Window Operations

Chapter: User Interface Design : Windows and controls

Window Operations

A window should be made active with as few steps as possible.

Window Operations


Active Window


A window should be made active with as few steps as possible.

Visually differentiate the active window from other windows.


General Guidelines


Design easy to use and learn windowing operations.

— Direct manipulation seems to be a faster and more intuitive interaction style than indirect manipulation for many windowing operations.


Minimize the number of window operations necessary to achieve a desired effect.

Make navigating between windows particularly easy and efficient to do.

Make the setting up of windows particularly easy to remember.


In overlapping systems, provide powerful commands for arranging windows on the screen in user-tailorable configurations.


Opening a Window


Provide an iconic representation or textual list of available windows.

-   If opening with an expansion of an icon, animate the icon expansion.

When opening a window:

-   Position the opening window in the most forward plane of the screen.

-   Adapt the window to the size and shape of the monitor on which it will be presented.

-   Designate it as the active window.


-   Set it off against a neutral background.

-   Ensure that its title bar is visible.

When a primary window is opened or restored, position it on top.

-   Restore all secondary windows to the states that existed when the primary window was closed.

When a dependent secondary window is opened, position it on top of its associated primary window.

-   Position a secondary window with peer windows on top of its peers.

-   Present layered or cascaded windows with any related peer secondary windows.

When a dependent secondary window is activated, its primary window and related peer windows should also be positioned at the top.

If more than one object is selected and opened, display each object in a separate window.

Designate the last window selected as the active window.

Display a window in the same state as when it was last accessed.

-   If the task, however, requires a particular sequence of windows, use a fixed or consistent presentation sequence.


With tiled windows, provide an easy way to resize and move newly opened windows.


Sizing Windows


Provide large-enough windows to:

-   Present all relevant and expected information for the task.

-   Avoid hiding important information.

-   Avoid crowding or visual confusion.

-   Minimize the need for scrolling.

o   But use less than the full size of the entire screen.


If a window is too large, determine:

-   Is all the information needed?

-   Is all the information related?

Otherwise, make the window as small as possible.

-   Optimum window sizes:

·        For text, about 12 lines.

·        For alphanumeric information, about seven lines.

Larger windows seem to have these advantages:

·        They permit displaying of more information.

·        They facilitate learning: Data relationships and groupings are more obvious.

·        Less window manipulation requirements exist.

·        Breadth is preferred to depth (based on menu research).

·        More efficient data validation and data correction can be performed.


Disadvantages include:

·        Longer pointer movements are required.

·        Windows are more crowded.

·        More visual scanning is required.

·        Other windows more easily obscure parts of the window. o It is not as easy to hide inappropriate data.


Window Placement



·        In placing a window on the display, consider:

o   The use of the window.

o   The overall display dimensions.

o   The reason for the window’s appearance.



·        Position the window so it is entirely visible.

·        If the window is being restored, place the window where it last appeared.

·        If the window is new, and a location has not yet been established, place it:

o   At the point of the viewer’s attention, usually the location of the pointer or cursor.

o   In a position convenient to navigate to.

o   So that it is not obscuring important or related underlying window information.

·        For multiple windows, give each additional window its own unique and discernible location.

·        A cascading presentation is recommended.


·        In a multiple-monitor configuration, display the secondary window on the same monitor as its primary window.

·        If none of the above location considerations apply, then:

o   Horizontally center a secondary window within its primary window just

·        below the title bar, menu bar, and any docked toolbars.


·        If the user then moves the window, display it at this new location the next time the user opens the window.


o   Adjust it as necessary to the current display configuration.



·        Do not let the user move a window to a position where it cannot be easily repositioned.

Dialog boxes:

·        If the dialog box relates to the entire system, center it on screen.

·        Keep key information on the underlying screen visible.

·        If one dialog box calls another, make the new one movable whenever possible.


Window Separation


Crisply, clearly, and pleasingly demarcate a window from the background of the screen on which it appears.

·        Provide a surrounding solid line border for the window.

·        Provide a window background that sets the window off well against the overall screen background.

·        Consider incorporating a drop shadow beneath the window.


Moving a Window


Permit the user to change the position of all windows.

Change the pointer shape to indicate that the move selection is successful.

Move the entire window as the pointer moves.

·        If it is impossible to move the entire window, move the window outline while leaving the window displayed in its original position.

Permit the moving of a window without its being active.


Resizing a Window


Permit the user to change the size of primary windows.

·        Unless the information displayed in the window is fixed or cannot be scaled to provide more information.


Change the pointer shape to indicate that the resizing selection is successful.


The simplest operation is to anchor the upper-left corner and resize from the lower right corner.


·        Also permit resizing from any point on the window.


Show the changing window as the pointer moves.

·        If it is impossible to show the entire window being resized, show the window’s  outline while leaving the window displayed in its original position.


When window size changes and content remains the same:

·        Change image size proportionally as window size changes.


If resizing creates a window or image too small for easy use, do one of the following:


·        Clip (truncate) information arranged in some logical structure or layout when minimum size is attained, or


·        When no layout considerations exist, format (restructure) information as size is reduced, or


·        Remove less useful information (if it can be determined), or

·        When minimum size is attained, replace information with a message that indicates that the minimum size has been reached and that the window must be enlarged to continue working.

Permit resizing a window without its being active.


Other Operations


Permit primary windows to be maximized, minimized, and restored.

Study Material, Lecturing Notes, Assignment, Reference, Wiki description explanation, brief detail
User Interface Design : Windows and controls : Window Operations |

Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions, DMCA Policy and Compliant

Copyright © 2018-2024 BrainKart.com; All Rights Reserved. Developed by Therithal info, Chennai.