Visual Links across Applications


The tasks carried out by modern information workers become increasingly complex and time-consuming. They often require to evaluate, interpret, and compare information from different sources presented in multiple application windows. With large, high resolution displays, multiple application windows can be arranged in a way so that a large amount of information is visible simultaneously. However, individual application windows' contents and visual representations are isolated and relations between information items contained in these windows are not explicit. Thus, relating and comparing information across applications has to be executed manually by the user, which is a tedious and error-prone task.

In this paper we present visual links connecting related pieces of information across application windows and thereby guiding the user's attention to relevant information. Applications are coordinated by a management application accessible via a light-weight interface. User selections are synchronized across registered applications and visual links are rendered on top of the desktop content by a window manager. Initial user feedback was very positive and indicates that visual links improve task efficiency when analyzing information from multiple sources.


Manuela Waldner, Werner Puff, Alexander Lex, Marc Streit, Dieter Schmalstieg
Visual Links across Applications
Proceedings of the Graphics Interface (GI), 129--136, 2010.
 GI 2010 Best Student Paper Award


  title = {Visual Links across Applications},
  author = {Manuela Waldner and Werner Puff and Alexander Lex and Marc Streit and Dieter Schmalstieg},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the Graphics Interface (GI)},
  publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society}},
  url = {},
  pages = {129--136},
  year = {2010}