Tech Report CS-92-42

Manipulating Screen Space with {\em StretchTools}: Visualizing Large Structures on Small Screens

Manojit Sarkar and Steven P. Reiss

September 1992


StretchTools is a set of tools for manipulating the screen space. The user interface uses the metaphor of stretching a rubber sheet. The basic tool in StretchTools is the handle, which is an one-dimensional rigid object of a fixed orientation, either horizontal or vertical. As a handle is placed on the screen, engaged, and pulled, the screen expands on one side of the handle and contracts on the other side. Graphical objects on the screen transform accordingly. The other type of basic tool is the clamp. Clamps are used to impose constraints on the movement of handles by joining handles with one another. In this paper, we show how StretchTools can be used to visualize large structures on small screens by selectively enlarging single or multiple regions of the screen at a time. Transformations achieved by StretchTools have a number of properties that alleviate the problem of user-disorientation due to the introduced distortion.

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