Thursday, December 22, 2005

Mousing Around 

At Abscissatron and Other Imbroglio Programs you'll find a modometer - a small application that measures the distance covered by your mouse, and how many right and left mouse clicks. I read about it in the TuDogs newsletter, in which Sheina Weltman wrote of the modometer: "though why ever one would want to know this is somewhat of a mystery to me... a little bit of computational idiocy maybe." So now I've been thinking about why you'd want the information gathered by a modometer.

I use the mouse a lot, even though I can't follow my mouse pointer as easily as most people can. I probably move the mouse around more as a result so that I can pick up it's movement. I also swish it up to the top right corner of the screen so that I can find it. I might also use the keyboard shortcuts a little bit more too, and mouse gestures in Opera probably means that my mouse travels less while surfing the net because I don't have to move it up to the 'Back' or 'Reload' buttons.

Maybe you could use a modometer to measure the differences in the way people use their mouse? Do people of different ages, gender or culture use their mouse differently? If you did study this, it might also be useful to notice how often they move it for no reason, or where they move it. Do they pick it up so that it stays in the same small space, or do they swish it all over the desk?

On the one hand, I'm thinking this is a ridiculous line of thought. On the other hand, I'm thinking there are probably people who want to find better ways to interact with computers who might actually find this useful. I wonder how they do it?

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