Re: Whitepaper on MDI vs. SDI interfaces?

18 Feb 2005 - 10:29am
1224 reads
Doug Anderson

Hi Jason,

You might try the following.

Doug Anderson
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN;EN-US;q230684

About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design
by Alan Cooper , per Amazon:

5 references to MDI in this book:

on Page 334:

"... a new method for organizing the functions in a Windows application. The company called this the multiple document interface, or MDI. It satisfied a need apparent in certain categories of applications, namely those that handled multiple instances of a single type ..."

on Page 335:

"... Chapter 25: Window Behaviors 335 The winds of change at Microsoft notwithstanding, MDI is actually reasonable enough, as long as it is not abused. The main way to abuse it is to have ..."

from Index:

"... using in, 57, 60, 62 research, 14, 15, 53 segmentation model, 53, 62, 63 team, 505 mathematical thinking, 26-27, 124-126 MDI (multiple document interface), 334-335 mechanical design, 8, 9, 21-22, 27-31 The Media Equation (Nass and Reeves), 132 memory cost, 178 ..."

from Index:

"... Recently Used) list, 372 MSN Money Deluxe Portfolio Manager, 482 Mullet, Kevin (Designing Visual Interfaces), 225 multiple document interface. See MDI multitasking, 192 mux, 342 My Documents folder (Windows), 472 N name of software, displaying on desktop, 457-458 narrative, using in ..."

from Index:

"... function, assigning to, 326-329 graphics software model, 327, 328-329 GUI history, 323-326 iconized, 331 main, 326, 393, 457 maximized, 331 MDI, 334-335 minimized, 331-333 multipane model, 325-326 navigating between windows, 144, 148, 149, 331-332 overlapping model, 323, 325 pane, eliminating unnecessary, ..."

The Essential Guide to User Interface Design. By Wilbert O. Galitz, per Amazon:

3 references to MDI in this book:

on Page 368:

"... cannot always be maintained on closing and opening. - The relationship between files and their windows is abstract, making an MDI application more challenging for beginning users to learn. - Confining child windows to the parent window can be inconvenient or ..."

on Page 369:

"... Select the Proper Kinds of Windows 369 A multiple-document interface (MDI) may be used when multiple views of an object , or multiple documents, must be looked at simultaneously. The purpose ..."

on Page 371:

"... differentiating peer primary windows of the project from windows of other applications. A project is similar to a multiple-document interface (MDI), but does not visually contain the child windows. Objects represented by icons contained within it can be opened into primary ..."

Original Message:
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 08:54:02 -0400
From: Jason Keirstead <jason at>
Subject: [ID Discuss] Whitepaper on MDI vs. SDI interfaces?
To: IxD
< at>
Message-ID: <200502170854.02312.jason at>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Is there anyone who could point me toward some references that describe the
benefits of SDI interfaces over MDI interfaces (not tabbed MDI -
window-in-window MDI).

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