Publication: Targeting Across Displayless Space

Multi-monitor displays and multi-display environments are now common. Cross-display cursor movement, in which a user moves the pointer from one display to another, occurs frequently in these settings. There are several techniques for supporting this kind of movement, and these differ in the way that they deal with displayless space (the physical space between displays). Stitching is the method used by most operating systems; in this technique, the cursor jumps from the edge of one display directly into the next display. In contrast, Mouse Ether maps the motor space of the mouse exactly to the physical space of the displays, meaning that the cursor has to travel across displayless space until it reaches the next display. To determine which of these approaches is best for cross-display movement, we carried out a study comparing Stitching, Mouse Ether, and a variant of Mouse Ether with Halo for off-screen feedback. We found that Stitching is equivalent to or faster than any variant of Mouse Ether, and that Halo improves Ether's performance (but not enough to outperform Stitching). Results also indicate that the larger the gap between displays, the longer the targeting takes – even for Stitching. These findings provide valuable guidance for practitioners and raise new interesting questions for research.





Miguel Nacenta
University of St Andrews, University of Saskatchewan, University of Calgary
Regan Mandryk
University of Saskatchewan
Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan


Advanced Interaction for Multi-display Environments
Multi-display environments (interfaces composed by several display surfaces) have the potential to dramatically change the way that we work with digital information: for example, they provide a variety of work surfaces to fit different kinds of tasks, they provide a very large visual bandwidth, they enable the use of peripheral attention space, and they naturally support co-located collaboration.


Nacenta, M.A., Mandryk, R.L., Gutwin, C. 2008. Targeting Across Displayless Space. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008), 777-786. DOI=10.1145/1357054.1357178.


@inproceedings {p777-nacenta,
author= {Miguel Nacenta and Regan Mandryk and Carl Gutwin},
title= {Targeting Across Displayless Space},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008)},
year= {2008},
pages= {777-786}