Publication: Improving Selection of Off-Screen Targets with Hopping

Many systems provide the user with a limited viewport of a larger graphical workspace. In these systems, the user often needs to find and select targets that are in the workspace, but not visible in the current view. Standard methods for navigating to the off-screen targets include scrolling, panning, and zooming; however, these are laborious when users cannot see a target's direction or distance. Techniques such as halos can provide awareness of targets, but actually getting to the target is still slow with standard navigation. To improve off-screen target selection, we developed a new technique called hop, which combines halos with a teleportation mechanism that shows proxies of distant objects. Hop provides both awareness of off-screen targets and fast navigation to the target context. A study showed that users are significantly faster at selecting off-screen targets with hopping than with two-level zooming or graband- drag panning, and it is clear that hop will be faster than either halos or proxy-based techniques (like drag-and-pop or vacuum filtering) by themselves. Hop both improves on halo-based navigation and extends the value of proxies to small-screen environments.





Pourang Irani Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan
Xing Dong Yang


Irani, P., Gutwin, C., Yang, X. 2006. Improving Selection of Off-Screen Targets with Hopping. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 299-308.


@inproceedings {irani,
author= {Pourang Irani and Carl Gutwin and Xing Dong Yang},
title= {Improving Selection of Off-Screen Targets with Hopping},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems},
year= {2006},
pages= {299-308}