Expert evaluation

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of workspace configuration systems

tabs with text labels

as employed by web browsers (special section: chrome’s tabs on top as window handles


Always a unique filename visible, or partially visible in the tab line-up

When the filenames are useful, it is fast and easy to switch files accurately

Easy to go through files systematically

Some location based aid to finding the file (in the same place in the tab- bar)


filenames, especially when they are numeric or auto-generated are slow, or insufficient indicators of the file's content.

when there are many open files, all names cannot be equally displayed

only really makes sense for single view

windows in window

as prominent on ms-windows;


A well- used metaphor for dealing with many open files

No need for tab bars taking up valuable vertical space

Files can be organised in “piles”- i.e. on top of each other.

Flexible- lot’s of files can be open at the same time

Flexible- files can be arranged to show the part of the image required- for example the required section for cloning, or a zoomed in section.

Flexible- files can be arranged to overlap in the most useful way for users.

Users are not restricted to pre- defined systems of dividing up the workspace- they have a feeling of more freedom

Switching between open files can be very quick and easy (one click)

The file content is available to be seen, as this acts as a very effective identifier of the file’s content


Arranging many windows can take a lot of time

Switching between files can be difficult when many files are open and the required file is “buried”

Requires there to be a listing of open files

Lot’s of visual noise and space taken up by the window container

Each window may need individual controls on the window container - like minimise/maximise/close

Window decoration not matching the user’s OS

the image parade + polaroids system

as described in peter’s blog;


Image identification is very easy when images are clearly differentiated.

When images are easily identified switching becomes easy and fast.

The image parade can be endless- it will scroll- thus accommodating many open files

The image parade can be resizeable- even at relatively small pixel sizes, when it works, it just works.

It is easy and obvious that the thumbnails can be dragged and dropped, giving lots of options for workspace configuration UI.


When images are too similar, they cannot be differentiated and so the switching system fails if images titles are not displayed Displaying images titles means - an extra click or using more space, or more visual noise.

The image parade takes up valuable vertical screen real estate,

Only a limited amount of images can be displayed on the screen at one time.

Polaroids are a one trick pony, there seems to be little point if users can't actually do anything with them.

split panes in gtk

gtkpaned widget;

the curlyankles extension library to gtk

the current multi-window system of GIMP


Easy to have many different files open

The same as the OS desktop environment- e.g appearance and window controls


Too much control given over to the window manager and the loss of control that means

Task bar overload

windows-7 snap

peek and shake


Makes side by side working easy and most of all neat to set up in a windows in windows situation


Only good for windows in windows

Neat is not necessarily required by those users who want the ultimate in flexibility

In a situation with dockable dialogs and flexible tool configurations, is the edge of the workspace stable enough to be used as a "snap" edge?

Is only good for relatively small numbers of open and visible files (nowhere near our desired 23, more like 2 or 3!)

Doesn’t address any of the file switching or identification issues