Folding back overlapping windows

Posted July 19, 2005

The user interface for windowing systems is, even after all these years, still capable of improvement, such as Apple's Exposé. Indeed, a classic problem in drag-and-drop technique is how to drag something to an obscured window: normally the solution is either to move stuff out of the way before you begin the drag, or else try to catch a piece of the background window and hope the OS is smart enough (as Macs generally are) to temporarily bring the desired window to the front.

This is a neat alternative proposal. It recognizes particular mouse gestures near the edges of windows and thus allows you to explicitly "peel back" and "flip through" overlapping windows to find the one you want, all in the middle of a dragging operation (so no planning ahead is required).

The video download is worth seeing. I particularly like the behavior of the folded-back windows, as it seems fairly physically plausible within a simplified cartoony framework. Hopefully something like this will eventually end up in a new version of an OS near you...

Edit: Slashdot just linked to the same site after I posted this, so the video download is probably now offline for a while until the site can recover, unfortunately.