Not Saussure

March 20, 2007

Navigating without mouse buttons

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 11:54 pm

Via the thinking blog, a fascinating proof-of-concept site, which uses a lot of Flash, that wants you to navigate the site without using your mouse buttons at all.

The thinking blog comments

Users have been trained to “point and click” since the Mac in 1984, if not earlier, so it’s in our nature to impulsively click when we want to take action. The point of this study is to explain that clicking doesn’t necessarily have to be a requirement.

It took me a little while to get used to it, but I liked the site and navigation without clicks a lot. I like those Snap previews, too, though, to the extent that I’ve installed the Firefox CoolIris extension so links work that way; maybe I’m just too lazy to click unless I have to.

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  1. Well, we’ve been used to point and click, but we couldn’t rely on it until the mid-90’s I’d say. It was quite common to not have a mouse, and have to use alt + whatever you wanted. Happy days.

    Comment by Claire — March 21, 2007 @ 4:30 pm

  2. I think it truly sucks. When you click you, as the user/visitor, have made a positive choice for a particular action to happen. All this stuff happening on mouseover feels more like the page designer is in charge (no doubt why designers would like it) – the user has less control over how the site is navigated, but is at the mercy of how the designers imagined it would be used. Stuff happens if you slide across hotspots while on the way to the one you want. Bad design. Stupid. And using Shift + Tab to navigate the form fields? In plain old html you do that with just Tab.

    It’s even more annoying than Snap previews – which serve no useful purpose whatsoever (more ‘because we can’ technology) – too small to be useful, often slow and they get in the way of my using the mouse wheel button to open links in a new tab. Essentially Snap = pop-ups (bad) too small to read (even worse).

    Now don’t mistake me – I love techie stuff, it’s just that all too often people get carried away with an technical idea, become obsessed with making it work and don’t stop to think about whether it’s a worthwhile idea or not.

    Comment by Pete in Dunbar — March 22, 2007 @ 12:01 am

  3. Thanks for the pointer on the cooliris extension. I’ve just installed it and I really like it. I think it’s much better than the snap preview which was staring to get really annoying.

    Comment by netherworld — March 22, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

  4. You’re welcome, Netherworld; I agree it’s a lot better than the Snap preview, both because it gives you readable pages and also because it’s difficult to trigger by accident — you have to float the pointer over a blue spot on the page — thus avoiding the problem identified by Pete in Dunbar.

    I share Pete’s concern about this sort of thing being used inappropriately, but I think it works very well in its place, particularly complex, multi-level menus and image galleries. If anyone’s interested, Stu Nicholl’s CSS Play has some very imaginative examples of what you can do with hover — no Flash involved at all.

    Anyone fed up with Snap can, of course, turn it off altogether for all websites — click on the question mark box in the preview pop-up window.

    Comment by notsaussure — March 22, 2007 @ 10:19 pm

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