“Star” – Dynamic File Associations


Often, similiar sets of documents are in use at the same time while working on a particular task. For example, some PDF documents with related work together with an Excel sheet containing calculations and a dictionary web page might be required while working on a paper. These documents are not necessarily stored under the same locations, though. Hence, when continuing the task after a break, the user has to find and re-open these documents manually.


MMI Screenshot

The system dynamically estimates the degree to which documents belong to a working set, for example by examining the time two documents are opened simultaneously, or by investigating the number of times a user switches between documents. For any document, related documents are shown using a star-like visualization. The closer a document is to the center, the more likely it is that it belongs to the corresponding working set. This concept enables the user to quickly find and re-open relevant documents.

Click Dummy

Click on the Word document to bring up a set of related documents. Dragging icons (implemented for the Firefox and Excel documents) opens the corresponding documents. Clicking on the Notepad icon shows the working set corresponding to this document.

This project is the result of an HCI class homework at the University of Munich, Department of Media Informatics. The task was to design a “new dynamic desktop concept”.  It was done by Tobias Emrich, Tobias Hößl, Sebastian Kraiker, and Dominik Schmidt in January 2005.