Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is Apple’s Mighty Mouse too smart for its own good?

The no buttons buttons ...

"While most attention on Mac input is focused on multitouch gestures on new notebooks and iPhone screens, even longtime Mac users may not know exactly how many buttons are on the Mighty Mouse that ships with desktop Macs. But all will enjoy the new trick Leopard Finder has when scrolling with a mouse or trackpad.

Before Monday evening’s BMUGWest Mac User Group meeting in San Francisco, longtime member David Schwartz and I ran down some of the Leopard 10.5.2 changes and our discussion strayed to input.

I mentioned a scene that I overheard in a retail electronics store. A Mac critic said loudly that a big reason he hated the Mac was its lack of support for multibutton mice — of course, he was a solid Windows user. The original Mac had a single button and looking over at the iMac nearby, things didn’t look any different.

Now, I couldn’t let this pass. I walked over to his posse and pointed out that Apple’s Mighty Mouse on display, the standard mouse that ships with all desktop Macs, has 4 programmable mouse buttons. This is only one button less than the usual complement found on a Microsoft mouse and this number must count as “multiple” by even a hardened PC user.

But it was tough to convince him since the industrial design of the Mighty Mouse hides almost all the buttons from view. Except for the separations surrounding the side buttons, there’s not much evidence of buttons on the Mighty Mouse.

Worse, over the past week or so, I talked to several longtime owners of Mighty Mice (all intelligent people) who didn’t know that there were 4 buttons. Some knew that there were two, but none could point to all four.

As Apple points out, the mouse functions more like a trackpad, using capacitive sensors to differentiate the pair of buttons on the top.

Thanks to a smooth top shell with touch-sensitive technology beneath, Mighty Mouse allows you to right click without a right button. Capacitive sensors under Mighty Mouse’s seamless top shell detect where your fingers are and predict your clicking intentions, so you don’t need two buttons — just two fingers.

So there really aren’t buttons for the primary buttons, instead, there’s technology that functions as buttons."    (Continued via ZDnet)    [Usability Resources]

Mighty Mouse - Usability, User Interface Design

Mighty Mouse


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