Supporting Window Switching with Spatially Consistent Thumbnail Zones: Design and Evaluation

  • Susanne Tak
  • Joey Scarr
  • Carl Gutwin
  • Andy Cockburn
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6946)


Computer users switch between applications and windows all day, but finding the target window can be difficult, particularly when the total number of windows is high. We describe the design and evaluation of a new window switcher called SCOTZ (for Spatially Consistent Thumbnail Zones). SCOTZ is a window switching interface which shows all windows grouped by application and allocates more space to the most frequently revisited applications. The two key design principles of SCOTZ are (1) predictability of window locations, and (2) improved accessibility of recently and frequently used windows. We describe the design and features of SCOTZ, and present the findings from qualitative and empirical studies which demonstrate that SCOTZ yields performance and preference benefits over existing window switching tools.


window switching revisitation spatial stability predictability 

Supplementary material

Electronic Supplementary material (1,996 KB)


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanne Tak
    • 1
  • Joey Scarr
    • 1
  • Carl Gutwin
    • 2
  • Andy Cockburn
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science and Software EngineeringUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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