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At the same time, the second study suggests there may be limits to the space-for-time approach behind phosphor. With paths reaching across the entire screen, users cannot foveate the entire path at once, and the resulting display can become distracting, as the subjective preference data indi- cates. While we may be able to push this limit out by fine tuning the path visuals (e.g., thinner paths with lower opac- ity), the contrast with the strong positive findings of the first study indicates that the greatest benefits of phosphor might lie in the space of localized effects (see also Proximity Compatibility Principle [34]).

CONCLUSIONS Phosphor is a technique for explaining transitions in the user interface. Unlike animated transitions, it never forces users to wait. Our first study indicates that phosphor transi- tions help improve users’ ability to process changes in the user interface. Our second study indicates that the benefits of phosphor over animated transitions do not come at the expense of task performance.

As future work we plan to continue to investigate the learn- ability of our design. We also plan to explore application areas that are traditionally less accessible to animation, such as glanceable displays.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We thank George Robertson for his comments on a draft of this paper. Thanks also to Steve Drucker.


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