A Fisheye Text Viewer
keeping people aware of what others are doing

Fisheye Lenses are an intriguing way of keeping people aware of what others are doing. Our first attempt at using fisheye lens within groupware was this fisheye text viewer. Each person is assigned a focal point, and the system magnifies and colors the areas around each focal point. The degree of magnification is highly customizable.

The figure illustrates three people editing a document. There are three focal points with corresponding magnified regions, the center region belonging to the local user and the surrounding two representing the other participants. Other people working within their document are visible. We see where they are because the area around their focal point (i.e., where they are working) is presented with their chosen colour. We can see what they are doing because the text around their focal point is magnified. Finally, the way distortion is applied is under complete user control.

Primary Investigators

Saul Greenberg (Supervisor)


  • System completely implemented.
  • Papers and videos were produced describing the work.

Current Status

  • This particular implementation is complete. We have also explored other visualization methods for group awareness.