Design Pattern: IM(6) Panning


The available display space is often smaller than the area populated with alarm activations. The human operator would like to explore an area with alarm activations that is larger than the alarm display.


The human operator needs to navigate across alarm activations that do not fit the display as a whole.


Change the section of the area to be displayed in the alarm display based on panning. Panning allows moving a viewing frame over a display space of greater size. However, there are several ways to let the operator pan the data space. The classic variation of it uses a set of arrow buttons that move the data space by a certain value to the left, right, top or bottom. Often used as a redundant feature along with buttons is panning by drag and drop. When the mouse pointer moves into viewport, mark it as a dragging tool by changing its appearance from an arrow to an open hand. The distinction from scrolling is one of perspective; panning is the opposite of scrolling. When panning, the viewer perceives the displayed material as being stationary while the viewing area of the display screen moves across it. In applications where a user moves a cursor freely about a page of displayed data, panning should be adopted rather than scrolling as the conceptual basis of display framing.

Known uses
Fig1.Use of a set of arrows buttons in the DetaV process control system interface
Fig2.Use of a pan window (framed in red) at the bottom of the interface

Whether moving along incrementally by clicking arrow buttons, or dragging the content freely around, it forces to provide the user a way to move the content pane as it will not fit into the display space at once (Spence, R. (2007). Information visualization: Design for interaction (2nd Edition ed.) Pearson-Prentice Hall. )