Yeh, T., Wongsuphasawat, K., Shneiderman, B., Davis, L.
Effective use of screen space and reduction of occlusion are
important for usability. We present a toolkit to help a GUI
manage space and occlusion by visual introspection. Rather
than relying on a GUI’s internal model, our toolkit inspects
a GUI’s visual appearance at the screen pixel level and
computes maps to describe the GUI’s space and occlusion
distribution. Moreover, we compare a GUI’s expected
appearance perceived internally to the actual appearance
seen on the screen for detecting occlusion. We give
examples how a GUI can adapt accordingly, such as
resizing, repositioning, adding and removing components
and borrowing space from outside. We validate the
usefulness of this toolkit with two case studies. First, the
developer of LifeFlow, a visualization tool for temporal
event sequences, used our toolkit to improve the space
utilization of the query interface and the main visualization
interface. Second, our toolkit was used to implement an
automatic text placement extension for JUNG, a popular
open-source network visualization library. From the two
case studies, we drew recommendations to inform potential
users of our toolkit.
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