The present invention relates to a system that facilitates multi-tasking in a computing environment. A focus area component defines a focus area within a display space—the focus area occupying a subset area of the display space area. A scaling component scales display objects as a function of proximity to the focus area, and a behavior modification component modifies respective behavior of the display objects as a function their location of the display space. Thus, and more particularly the subject invention provides for interaction technique(s) and user interface(s) in connection with managing display objects on a display surface. One aspect of the invention defines a central focus area where the display objects are displayed and behave as usual, and a periphery outside the focus area where the display objects are reduced in size based on their location, getting smaller as they near an edge of the display surface so that many more objects can remain visible. In addition or alternatively, the objects can fade as they move toward an edge, fading increasing as a function of distance from the focus area and/or use of the object and/or priority of the object. Objects in the periphery can also be modified to have different interaction behavior (e.g., lower refresh rate, fading, reconfigured to display sub-objects based on relevance and/or visibility, static, etc.) as they may be too small for standard rendering. The methods can provide a flexible, scalable surface when coupled with automated policies for moving objects into the periphery, in response to the introduction of new objects or the resizing of pre-existing objects by a user or autonomous process.