Squeeze the Screen (27 Oct 2004)
Since Web pages are designed with the desktop in mind, they don't often have a layout that works well on small screens. They often use multi-column views that complicate navigation. Users have to scroll horizontally and vertically to read the page. Some cures for this involve throwing all the content into one long column, but this requires quite a lot of vertical scrolling. Scrolling through the menus and sidebars can take up to several screens on a PDA.
Baudisch and his colleagues have devised a project called Collapse-to-Zoom that avoids all that annoying scrolling. Collapse-to-Zoom allows users to collapse the areas of the screen that they aren't interested in, which causes the areas of relevant content to expand. It then allows users to zoom in on the content they want to read. Users typically collapse archive material, ads, or menus to focus on content.
Users can navigate the Collapse-to-Zoom interface using a stylus. The menu is based on a novel technique that the researchers call a marquee menu. Dragging the pen on the screen selects a rectangular section that encloses the start and end points of the drag gesture and simultaneously selects a command, based on whether that selection was created by dragging up or down. Compared to existing pen languages that use separate gestures from selection and command, a marquee menu is simpler and faster. The Collapse-to-Zoom navigation allows users to expand or collapse columns, to collapse entire columns, to expand and zoom on selected content, and to follow links by tapping the screen.
Article URL: http://research.microsoft.com/displayArticle.aspx?id=1036
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