HCIL-97-06, CS-TR-3784, ISR-TR-97-55
High complexity tasks, such as remote teleoperation of robotic vehicles, often require multiple windows. For these complex tasks, the windows necessary for task completion, may occupy more area than available on a single visual display unit (VDU). Since the focus of the robotic task constantly changes, modular control panels that can be opened, closed, and moved on the screen are invaluable to the operator. This study describes a specific robotic task and the need for a multi-window interface that can be easily manipulated. This paper examines two multi-window management strategies: tiled (fixed size) and arbitrary overlap. Multi-window searches were performed using the two management styles and they were compared on the basis of search completion time and error rates. Results with 35 novice users showed faster completion times for the tiled management strategy than for the arbitrary overlap strategy. Other factors such as the number of windows available, the number of displayed windows, workload of opening or closing windows, and effect of learning are discussed.