Animation Support in a User Interface Toolkit: Flexible, Robust, and Reusable Abstractions

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Hudson, Scott E.
Stasko, John T.
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Animation can be a very effective mechanism to convey information in visualization and user interface settings. However, integrating animated presentations into user interfaces has typically been a difficult task since, to date, there has been little or no explicit support for animation in window systems or user interface toolkits. This paper describes how the Artkit user interface toolkit has been extended with new animation support abstractions designed to overcome this problem. These abstractions provide a powerful, but convenient base for building a range of animations, supporting techniques such as simple motion-blur, "squash and stretch", use of arcing trajectories, anticipation and follow through, and "slow-in / slow-out" transitions. Because these abstractions are provided by the toolkit they are reusable and may be freely mixed with more conventional user interface techniques. In addition, the Artkit implementation of these abstractions is robust in the face of systems (such as the X Window System and Unix) which can be ill-behaved with respect to timing considerations.
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