Why is everything done with a mouse?

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linenfort
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Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by linenfort » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:20 am

I guess Personal Consumer is the best subsection for this question. Before this gets locked, could a few Boglehead coders out there just tell me:

Everything is so mouse-driven on websites, and before the web, I remember hitting Y or N or a number to move things along.
At Vanguard, you can start logging in by typing your username; you do not need to click Log On first. After that, though, you pretty much need your mouse, unless you're prepared to Tab through everything.

Gmail has some very useful keyboard shortcuts, but most websites don't. Why is that?

Is it just that prepackaged modules of code are already set up for doing everything with a mouse, except when you have to type in a textbox?
It's so much easier to tap a key on a keyboard than to go hither and yon to click.

Just curious.
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Pajamas
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:22 am

I am using a computer with a touchpad right now. No mouse at all. You can use different input devices and you can often program them to do what you want them to do, including a keyboard.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by Texanbybirth » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:24 am

Not sure about the web (Interesting question about pre-packaged code, though I think mouse-driven navigation more lends itself to portability across devices in this connected age. You can't as easily navigate with the keyboard on your phone/iPad as you can on a desktop.), but I navigate in Excel workbooks almost exclusively (99%) by keyboard. It's to the point where instead of moving my hand to the mouse, I'll just re-start typing. It's the same with other software programs we use at work. I find the mouse annoying and cumbersome.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:27 am

Its easier and universal to "Navigate" with a mouse or similar input device (Trackpad or TrackPoint pointing stick) for most people.
For filling out forms on websites certainly tab'ing between fields is the fastest entry point (once folks learn this they do it consistently).

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by The Wizard » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:28 am

Texanbybirth wrote:Not sure about the web (Interesting question about pre-packaged code, though I think mouse-driven navigation more lends itself to portability across devices in this connected age. You can't as easily navigate with the keyboard on your phone/iPad as you can on a desktop.), but I navigate in Excel workbooks almost exclusively (99%) by keyboard. It's to the point where instead of moving my hand to the mouse, I'll just re-start typing. It's the same with other software programs we use at work. I find the mouse annoying and cumbersome.
I have no mouse on my smartphone, on which I'm writing this.
Perhaps put the PC to sleep and come into the modern computing environment?
Attempted new signature...

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:29 am

BTW - you could try a keyboard with a built-in trackpad if you don't want your hands to leave the keyboard.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by Texanbybirth » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:30 am

The Wizard wrote:
Texanbybirth wrote:Not sure about the web (Interesting question about pre-packaged code, though I think mouse-driven navigation more lends itself to portability across devices in this connected age. You can't as easily navigate with the keyboard on your phone/iPad as you can on a desktop.), but I navigate in Excel workbooks almost exclusively (99%) by keyboard. It's to the point where instead of moving my hand to the mouse, I'll just re-start typing. It's the same with other software programs we use at work. I find the mouse annoying and cumbersome.
I have no mouse on my smartphone, on which I'm writing this.
Perhaps put the PC to sleep and come into the modern computing environment?
and you use that smartphone keyboard to do the keyboard shortcuts the OP mentioned in his post? if so, you're far more advanced that me. a mouse is a point and click device, like your finger on your smartphone. That was my point.

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petercooperjr
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by petercooperjr » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:31 am

By and large, there just isn't the demand for it.

Keyboard shortcuts are tougher than you might expect to implement on web sites, as people are using your site across different platforms and devices (which have different conventions), and you have to make sure you're not conflicting with something that's built-in to the browser (a lot of browsers have useful single-key shortcuts built in), and as you suggest there's not a ton of built-in support in the fundamental infrastructure and common libraries that are used in web page creation.

You're more likely to see keyboard shortcuts on web sites built by governments, as they tend to have a lot more laws and requirements around accessibility (helping people use them who have more challenges with some specific input or output devices).

Nowadays, as more and more users use a touch-based input devices, it's probably even less of a thought in the mind of product managers defining the business requirements for web projects. For teams building internal-to-a-business data-entry-type applications (where users still tend to use traditional computing devices) you're likely to see them implemented as the seconds saved matter, but for teams building systems for the general public, for better or worse they care a lot more about the phone/tablet experience being good than saving a couple seconds for users on "old-fashioned" computers. The tide has turned and nowadays computers are "work" tools and tablets are the "home" entertainment/productivity devices.

I'm not thrilled with it, and I still much prefer a traditional computer myself, but that's the marketplace we're in now.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by Uniballer » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:39 am

Prior to using a web browser for most things, there was an awful lot of character cell interaction (aka text mode, or terminal emulation). That would be the type of interaction where "Y/N" to proceed, or selecting a menu item by number, was prevalent.

Here I am typing this message, but I can click all these points on my display to control what is happening (quoting, add a web link, emojis, etc). So selecting with a pointing device gives the user a way to "escape" from having to use the keyboard. This process often becomes very quick and intuitive, but sometimes not so much (e.g. when there are too many things you can do so they wind up buried in menus). Think of how many keystrokes it would take to handle your Vanguard accounts without being able to click on what you want to do. They would probably wind up with cumbersome multi-level menus (or a command line interface for the real experts).
...I still much prefer a traditional computer myself...
What does this mean to you? I remember writing PDP-8 assembler on a teletype ASR-33 (with DECtapes), and really have no desire to return to those days. OTOH I much prefer a desktop machine with a 24"+ monitor (FreeBSD and XFCE4 on the box I'm using right now) to a phone-sized display.
Last edited by Uniballer on Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:53 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by bottlecap » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:41 am

Because a mouse or a touch screen is far easier.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by onourway » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:42 am

In my experience the number of users who know about anything other than the most basic of keyboard shortcuts is exceptionally small. I'm actually always quite surprised at the number of keyboard shortcuts that exist for most programs. I kind of think the developers must be implementing these mostly for themselves because I don't think I've ever met anyone other than a developer who uses them - and developers don't account for much of the typical user base.

A website is intended to be in regular flux so even if you could work around the excellent points brought up by @petercooperjr, the site would in theory regularly change and shortcuts would have to be constantly updated and maintained. Not worth the hassle for a dwindling number of users.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:28 pm

Mice are conceptually extremely simply. When you see what you want, you click on it. The same for touch screens. This accommodates the largest number of users. This is implemented consistently in browsers.

Keyboard shortcuts require you to learn a little bit more. It also requires coordination between different programmers to provide for consistency.

In normal cases, shortcuts would be implemented by the browser, not the web page. To do so in the web page requires additional programming on the part of the site designer, which a company like Google has the resources to do, but most others don't. For matters like having an input field ready to type in when a page loads like Vanguard, however, there is a very simple attribute for the site designer to assign to form he wants "focus" on.

That said, there may be more shortcuts available then you realize. There's a surprising number of Windows shortcuts available if you go looking for lists. I suppose most people know about tabbing between links on a webpage, page up/down, space to select checkboxes, etc. Try searching for shortcuts for your browser.

Also, you might to looking for information on websites for handicapped web users, who often depend on features like shortcuts. As an example, the Foundation for the Blind has a page detailing Facebook shortcuts:
http://www.afb.org/info/living-with-vis ... ebook/1235

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:47 pm

The Wizard wrote:I have no mouse on my smartphone, on which I'm writing this.
Perhaps put the PC to sleep and come into the modern computing environment?
That's effectively the same point and click concept, however, so it doesn't address the OP's frustration.

Also, touchscreens are a compromise that mobile devices are usually stuck with. In most use cases, it's very hard for the touch screen interface to compete ergonomically or productively with a keyboard and mouse, which is why aids like autocorrect are so heavily used, despite how embarrassingly poorly implemented autocorrect is.

This isn't a "modern" computing environment issue. It's a matter of getting efficient use out of whatever tool is right for your needs. When performing tasks that involve a lot of typing, every need to move your hands from the keyboard to the mouse just slows you down.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by lightheir » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:35 pm

The mouse is just sooooo much easier.

Seriously, I'm as computer-nerd linux etc. loving as the next big fan of such stuff out there, and I went out of my way to learn the text-based editor VIM not too long ago just to try and capture the so-called inefficiencies of mouse-based systems.

If you're a computer professional, and utilize commands so repeatedly that a line of linux file manipulation code is 2nd nature to use, great for you, and you will have an easy time with batch-commands for manipulating hundreds to millions of files simultaneously.

But just as the simplest example of what I'm talking about:

- How do you cut and copy a file in Windows or Safari?

ANswer: Drag and drop one file from one area to another. The end.

- How do you do that in the Linux terminal (the non-GUI text version of Linux)

https://askubuntu.com/questions/195983/ ... a-terminal

It's conceptually easy, but now imagine memorizing commands for ALL the common file manipulations, as well as their modifiers. Then try and remember them over time when you don't use them regularly. And that's just the filesystem commands. I actually spent a few months learning them, then forgetting them, then relearning them, and then went screaming back to my mouse-based GUI filesystems.

If I were a professional, the power of these command line tools is awesome and should be exploited. As an individual not needing to rename 100,000 files in a single line of code regularly, forget about it.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by flamesabers » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:47 pm

OP,

I think lack of demand is the answer to your question. However, one niche in particular where keyboard shortcuts can be very popular is gaming. Depending on what games you play, being able to navigate with your mouse while entering commands with your keyboard can be very invaluable.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:23 pm

90% of my PC usage requires only my wireless trackball. I am quite happy with the status quo. I hate having to exercise more than my thumb and index finger :happy

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by petercooperjr » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:37 pm

Uniballer wrote:
...I still much prefer a traditional computer myself...
What does this mean to you? I remember writing PDP-8 assembler on a teletype ASR-33 (with DECtapes), and really have no desire to return to those days. OTOH I much prefer a desktop machine with a 24"+ monitor (FreeBSD and XFCE4 on the box I'm using right now) to a phone-sized display.
I meant that I prefer a large-ish display and a keyboard/mouse/etc. device for input with speedy processing times allowing for complex multitasking, as opposed to something tablet-like. I was trying to use the qualifier "traditional" merely because in any reasonable sense a tablet is just as much a computer. Modern tablets certainly have much more processing power than a PDP-8.

I'm hardly one to talk about standard input devices, though, as my preferred keyboard/mouse equivalent is a Touchstream LP, and my day job is software engineering. Most people's interaction with computers (outside of a work context) is "consuming" rather than "producing" content (and what they do produce isn't usually much more than sending a picture and a few sentences to social media), and for a lot of those use cases the phone/tablet/touch interface is more than adequate.

Places like GMail may have enough people "producing" content (as well as geeky developers trying to build a product for use by themselves) that it's worth trying to allow for a "keyboard-centric" interface. Most web sites don't have that combination, so the effort to make it is below other priorities.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by azurekep » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:10 pm

I've never understood the fascination with keyboard shortcuts.

It's a memory load having to retain the shortcuts in memory.

It's an eye-hand coordination problem trying to get the keys pressed properly.

A mouse is so much easier.

And yet, despite liking to fiddle with the Registry and Services, I could never qualify as a Windows "power user" since I used the mouse. That meant I was a "dumb Windows user".

And now I use Linux and use neither keyboard shortcuts nor terminal commands. (Why waste memory cells memorizing either?) So now I'm a "dumb Linux user". :D

I don't mind, but I still don't get the fascination with keyboard shortcuts.

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telemark
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by telemark » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:56 pm

It's because the browser is fundamentally unsuited for most of the things people want to use it for. Browsers are marvelous tools for viewing hypertext. Doing anything past that is, well, think of a pig in lipstick and a ball gown attempting to dance the Viennese waltz. It's amazing that it works at all, when even something as basic as a login session requires hacks with cookies or URL rewriting. This is one reason why there are so many apps on tablets and phones (although apps have their own problems). Plus the platform is constantly evolving and changing: see

https://hackernoon.com/how-it-feels-to- ... a717dd577f

So while keyboard shortcuts are probably possible, they would require even more work, especially if they need to work on different browsers on different platforms, and as others have already said, the demand just isn't there. At least, the people making the decisions think it isn't there, and that amounts to the same thing.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:21 pm

Because it's by far the most efficient way of allowing the majority of users to interact with a software system. Gmail may have a lot of keyboard shortcuts, but most users don't even know they exist and don't use them. Can you imagine having to remember 100 different keyboard shortcuts for 100 different sites you visit on a weekly basis? It's not that we couldn't utilize keyboard commands, it's just that it would be pointless because nobody would use them.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by Cosmo » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:50 pm

linenfort wrote:I guess Personal Consumer is the best subsection for this question. Before this gets locked, could a few Boglehead coders out there just tell me:

Everything is so mouse-driven on websites, and before the web, I remember hitting Y or N or a number to move things along.
At Vanguard, you can start logging in by typing your username; you do not need to click Log On first. After that, though, you pretty much need your mouse, unless you're prepared to Tab through everything.

Gmail has some very useful keyboard shortcuts, but most websites don't. Why is that?

Is it just that prepackaged modules of code are already set up for doing everything with a mouse, except when you have to type in a textbox?
It's so much easier to tap a key on a keyboard than to go hither and yon to click.

Just curious.
This kind of implies that there are no other input devices available. Everything is not done with a mouse. So the question I have is -if you don't like using the mouse why don't do you get a touch screen?

Cosmo

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:33 pm

azurekep wrote:I've never understood the fascination with keyboard shortcuts.

It's a memory load having to retain the shortcuts in memory.

It's an eye-hand coordination problem trying to get the keys pressed properly.

A mouse is so much easier.
For things you do regularly, there is no memory load. It becomes ingrained, just like typing itself does.

Do you ever think about typing? We start early enough these days I suspect most younger folks don't think about how impressive the way we learn typing is. After a while, you stop having to think about where the keys you want to press are.

Then after that, you stop thinking even about *which* keys you need to press. This is really cool to me. When I wrote the word cool just now, the thought of pressing the keys "c-o-o-l" never even crossed my mind. I barely even thought of the word in the middle of the sentence. I just thought out the sentence in my mind and my fingers picked the keys. Muscle memory is awesome.

Certain programs I use often I can load by pressing the start button, typing the name, and pressing enter faster than I can even move my hand to the mouse, much less navigate to the program. Again, it's ingrained, and just happens automatically when I decide to load the program.

Some shortcuts get so well ingrained they happen in merely related circumstances.

No joke: I was writing something on paper once, realized I'd had made a mistake, and hit control+Z to undo it (I was tired). When nothing happened I glanced down at the bottom of the page to correct my finger placement before my conscience mind caught up and informed me I had just tried to press keyboard buttons on a piece of paper.

By the way, if anybody still doesn't have a mouse with dedicated forward and back buttons, these are great for web browsing.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by dollar_elbow » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:16 pm

It requires extra work on the part of the developers to implement keyboard support on web pages so it's less common. Mouse support is provided inherently by every browser so it's simple to create a web site and know that users can interact with it using a mouse. Adding keyboard support means binding keyboard events to web page elements using JavaScript, which requires extra programming and is not universal. Some people disable JavaScript so then keyboard actions don't work, and I suspect many developers don't consider it worth the hassle to design and test keyboard driven interfaces when they are only being used by a minority.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by David Jay » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:33 pm

Voice recognition is the future. You see it in things like digital assistants (Siri, Cortana) and Amazon Alexa.

Shades of the original Star Trek: "Computer,..."
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by azurekep » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:00 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:

For things you do regularly, there is no memory load. It becomes ingrained, just like typing itself does.

Do you ever think about typing? We start early enough these days I suspect most younger folks don't think about how impressive the way we learn typing is. After a while, you stop having to think about where the keys you want to press are.

Then after that, you stop thinking even about *which* keys you need to press. This is really cool to me. When I wrote the word cool just now, the thought of pressing the keys "c-o-o-l" never even crossed my mind. I barely even thought of the word in the middle of the sentence. I just thought out the sentence in my mind and my fingers picked the keys. Muscle memory is awesome.
Typing is fast for a lot of us because we put our hands on the keyboard two-handedly as if at a piano (I guess it's called QWERTY mode), and touch-type without having to look at the keys.

But keyboard shortcuts use the outlier keys like Ctrl, which causes a touch-typer to stretch their little finger to hit Ctrl. I find that awkward and I usually miss the key. It's way harder than hitting the Shift key.
Certain programs I use often I can load by pressing the start button, typing the name, and pressing enter faster than I can even move my hand to the mouse, much less navigate to the program. Again, it's ingrained, and just happens automatically when I decide to load the program.
That part I agree wholeheartedly with. I've done that since the Windows days using the Run command or similar and using aliases for various programs. But I consider that different than keyboard shortcuts. Typing the first few letters of a program is basically the same as touch-typing and is indeed easy and fast.
Some shortcuts get so well ingrained they happen in merely related circumstances.

No joke: I was writing something on paper once, realized I'd had made a mistake, and hit control+Z to undo it (I was tired). When nothing happened I glanced down at the bottom of the page to correct my finger placement before my conscience mind caught up and informed me I had just tried to press keyboard buttons on a piece of paper.
You need help, iamlucky13. ;)

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by Gattamelata » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:20 pm

From a design perspective: a mouse is a cheap, conceptually simple, easily-learned, cognitively inexpensive way to convert the entire surface of a monitor into an input interface. A touchscreen does the same thing, but much more expensively (and inaccessibly to the pre-2005 hardware designers). It allows an interface to be built as a facsimile of a real, physical interface. This forum is full of those conventions: blank space that I'm typing in emulates paper. Buttons above and below look and operate like physical buttons on a physical machine do. Smilies to the right emulate the look and feel of everything my young nieces own, festooned with stickers... okay, maybe that's not by design ;-)

I personally prefer keyboard interfaces, because they're faster. I don't have to remove my right hand from the keyboard to mode-switch between typing and entering commands. But as plenty of other folks have noted, keyboard interfaces are generally not standard across applications (except for the few commands that apply to many different applications, like save, open, cut, paste, etc.) and so require more learning and more trial and error on the part of the user. A mouse interface requires much less effort from the developer and is instantly accessible to the user. Even though I prefer them, I only learn keyboard commands on the few apps I use nearly every day, because if I don't use them constantly, I'll forget them.

The bang for the buck score is all in the mouse's favor, I fear.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by azurekep » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:33 pm

Gattamelata wrote: Smilies to the right emulate the look and feel of everything my young nieces own, festooned with stickers... okay, maybe that's not by design ;-)
I'm sure the next thread will be "Why do people use smilies?"

Or to make it actionable, are there any smiley-killing apps? ;)

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mice?

Post by FraggleRock » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:58 pm

Because mice are cute and rats are disgusting.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by toast0 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:31 pm

In addition to what everyone else said, it takes time to add shortcuts and it takes time to learn them, and there's not a good way to show people what the shortcuts are, like in a Windows app, where the menus can be opened with Alt+something and the something is underlined, then the menus have underlined letters, plus if they have their own shortcut there's room to show you. Once you're told that, you're on you way to learning the shortcuts, because nearly all programs work the same way. On the web, all you every really got that was standardized was blue underlined words are links, except underlines stopped being cool in the early 2000s, so maybe blue words are links, or maybe they'll stand out somewhere.

Without interface standards, it's kind of a wild west of doing what people think makes sense, but it really only happens on pages you're going to spend a lot of time on. Lots of people have gmail open all day, but few people are going to have vanguard open all day. Some of the brokerages have 'expert modes' which open a specialized window, that likely has shortcuts. I think the most you can get out of a normal browser on a normal page is some way to get to a link by typing the text, instead of by tabbing through all 10,000 link targets. :/

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:02 pm

azurekep wrote: But keyboard shortcuts use the outlier keys like Ctrl, which causes a touch-typer to stretch their little finger to hit Ctrl. I find that awkward and I usually miss the key. It's way harder than hitting the Shift key.
That's true, but it's still easier than switching to the mouse.
Some shortcuts get so well ingrained they happen in merely related circumstances.

No joke: I was writing something on paper once, realized I'd had made a mistake, and hit control+Z to undo it (I was tired). When nothing happened I glanced down at the bottom of the page to correct my finger placement before my conscience mind caught up and informed me I had just tried to press keyboard buttons on a piece of paper.
You need help, iamlucky13. ;)
Quite possibly so. I had a really good laugh at my own expense, though.

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Watty
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by Watty » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:52 pm

Before I retired I was a computer programmer and I mainly worked on the old style "green screen" text based terminals that mainly used the function keys for many control features. You likely still have the function keys at the top of your keyboard but you likely never use them.

Anyway one of the big drawbacks of trying to use command keys(or other keyboard shortcuts) is now virtually all systems have multiple windows so when you do something like a "control P" to print there is a big questions about which screen you are really trying to print. Not only is that not always obvious when you have have multiple windows open, but in some situations doing something in the wrong window could cause significant problems.

When you click something with a mouse there is no question about which window you were trying to do something in.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by hdnivara » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:59 pm

You might like Vimium browser extension for Chrome if you're a Vim user.

It pretty much mimics Vim on most of the websites (news, forums, etc) for the typical browser actions: opening a link in the same tab or a new tab, going back/forward, searching through a page for text, searching history/bookmarks, and so on.

I am so used to it that I am annoyed when I have to use a browser without Vimium.

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telemark
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by telemark » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:40 am

azurekep wrote: But keyboard shortcuts use the outlier keys like Ctrl, which causes a touch-typer to stretch their little finger to hit Ctrl. I find that awkward and I usually miss the key. It's way harder than hitting the Shift key.
That's why some people remap the Caps Lock key to act as a control key. Especially since CAPS LOCK IS USELESS ANYWAY.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by linenfort » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:11 pm

Thank you very much for the replies, especially Petercooperjr and dollar_elbow (interesting name). This makes sense, Peter:
Keyboard shortcuts are tougher than you might expect to implement on web sites, as people are using your site across different platforms and devices (which have different conventions), and you have to make sure you're not conflicting with something that's built-in to the browser (a lot of browsers have useful single-key shortcuts built in), and as you suggest there's not a ton of built-in support in the fundamental infrastructure and common libraries that are used in web page creation.
I hadn't been able to check replies for a while - cat emergency. And speaking of cats, she usually interferes with my mouse. To those of you who said, "There are trackpads, you know" - yes, I have a standalone apple trackpad that I bought for my desktop. It's great. I can keep it on my cluttered desk, and not having to move it across the desk like a mouse makes a big difference.
azurekep wrote:
It's an eye-hand coordination problem trying to get the keys pressed properly.
Well no, it isn't. That's my whole point. When I use a gmail shortcut, I don't need to go looking for something to click. My fingers find the keys without my having to look at the keyboard, or screen, or anything else.
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by azurekep » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:27 pm

linenfort wrote:
azurekep wrote:
It's an eye-hand coordination problem trying to get the keys pressed properly.
Well no, it isn't. That's my whole point. When I use a gmail shortcut, I don't need to go looking for something to click. My fingers find the keys without my having to look at the keyboard, or screen, or anything else.
That may be fine in gmail, but if you frequently browse long articles on the web and need to scroll, you're going to need frequent access to the mouse in any case.

I estimate I spend 3/4 of the time with my right hand on the mouse (index finger on the middle button in readiness for scrolling) and 1/4 the time with the right hand on the keyboard (in readiness for typing). There's no search involved in finding the mouse. It looms large in peripheral vision. Finding the J key (for aligning the right hand on the keyboard) is easy as it's right in front of my nose.

Considering the stress case -- working in the dark or in poor lighting and involving both reading (scrolling) and typing:

* Mouse - easy to find by feel
* J-key - could be hard to find after returning to the keyboard from scrolling (using the mouse), but doable as it's only one key
* Keyboard shortcuts - a disaster to find as long as the left hand is kept on the keyboard, only the J-key needs to be found when returning from scrolling. Assuming the keys are remapped to allow shortcut-pressing without seeing the keys, it would be okay. But add function keys to the lot, and you have a disaster. :mrgreen: No human being can accurately feel for function keys in the dark.

I think a lot of variables are involved. Screen size may be a consideration. If you read on a big screen, no scrolling is involved and your may never need a mouse. A 15-inch screen or smaller may need frequent access to a mouse for scrolling.

The fact that the mouse is a survivor is mostly because it is easy to use and requires no thought. I doubt PCs would have caught on like they did if keyboards were the only option. Apple's Macintosh with it's mouse was a game-changer (though admittedly it was more than just the mouse.) Doesn't mean the mouse is the best solution, but it's an easy solution for a lot of people, and certainly for casual browsers of the web who would probably be perplexed by keyboard shortcuts.

Edit: in re-reading your comment, you may be more concerned with things like window focus and positioning the mouse to click on a precise point on the screen vs searching for the mouse per se. I apologize beforehand if what I just wrote isn't relevant.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by toast0 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:49 pm

azurekep wrote:
linenfort wrote:That may be fine in gmail, but if you frequently browse long articles on the web and need to scroll, you're going to need frequent access to the mouse in any case.
I read a lot of articles on the web, and use the page up and page down keys (or sometimes just the space bar to scroll down). With a standard keyboard, page up and page down are easy to find by feel, because they're in a nice block of keys. Right below them is the arrow keys which are helpful if you need to scroll left and right because somebody made the page too wide.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by azurekep » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:12 pm

toast0 wrote:
azurekep wrote:
linenfort wrote:That may be fine in gmail, but if you frequently browse long articles on the web and need to scroll, you're going to need frequent access to the mouse in any case.
I read a lot of articles on the web, and use the page up and page down keys (or sometimes just the space bar to scroll down). With a standard keyboard, page up and page down are easy to find by feel, because they're in a nice block of keys. Right below them is the arrow keys which are helpful if you need to scroll left and right because somebody made the page too wide.
It's good to know there are backups like that and I have used them from time to time when a mouse was not available.

But since writing my last post, I've become conscious to another use of the mouse I rely heavily on: using the middle mouse-button to click on links to open tabs. Since my right hand is on the mouse 3/4 of the time, it is also available to open tabs, and I can probably open 50 tabs in about 30-45 seconds.

It all depends on what programs people are using, what mouse functions they use, screen size, and so on. Mouse vs keyboard shortcut is a YMMV type thing. Glad we have choice. :)

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:25 am

azurekep wrote:I've never understood the fascination with keyboard shortcuts.

It's a memory load having to retain the shortcuts in memory.

It's an eye-hand coordination problem trying to get the keys pressed properly.

A mouse is so much easier.

And yet, despite liking to fiddle with the Registry and Services, I could never qualify as a Windows "power user" since I used the mouse. That meant I was a "dumb Windows user".

And now I use Linux and use neither keyboard shortcuts nor terminal commands. (Why waste memory cells memorizing either?) So now I'm a "dumb Linux user". :D

I don't mind, but I still don't get the fascination with keyboard shortcuts.
If you use MS Excel a lot then using the keyboard shortcuts saves you incredible amounts of time and makes you more accurate and less error prone.

Training people not to use the mouse in Excel is an uphill battle, but a worthy one.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by azurekep » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:27 am

Valuethinker wrote:

If you use MS Excel a lot then using the keyboard shortcuts saves you incredible amounts of time and makes you more accurate and less error prone..
I get that. Mouse vs keyboard shortcut is very much a program-specific thing in many cases. Excel is one of those programs where the mouse can be cumbersome.

On the other hand, some of the audio processing programs I use feature Drag 'n Drop. Very easy to open the interface and drag 50 files onto it for processing. Not sure how that would be done with the keyboard.

Having started with a Mac, before moving on to Windows and Linux, Drag 'n Drop was one of the key things I looked for in a program. I especially like it when you have a choice of dragging files onto the window or dragging them onto the desktop icon. Hats off to Steve Jobs. He was a genius at interface design, or at least a genius at stealing the interface designs of others. ;)

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by iamlucky13 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:50 pm

toast0 wrote:
azurekep wrote:
linenfort wrote:That may be fine in gmail, but if you frequently browse long articles on the web and need to scroll, you're going to need frequent access to the mouse in any case.
I read a lot of articles on the web, and use the page up and page down keys (or sometimes just the space bar to scroll down). With a standard keyboard, page up and page down are easy to find by feel, because they're in a nice block of keys. Right below them is the arrow keys which are helpful if you need to scroll left and right because somebody made the page too wide.
Except on websites where they somehow break this. I think in some cases it is sloppy javascript, in some cases plug-ins like Silverlight. Regardless, it's obnoxious.
azurekep wrote:On the other hand, some of the audio processing programs I use feature Drag 'n Drop. Very easy to open the interface and drag 50 files onto it for processing. Not sure how that would be done with the keyboard.
If it doesn't already secretly exist, I'd implement it similar to Excel - arrow or tab to content you want to move, CTRL+C or CTRL+X, etc, arrow or tab to where you want to move it, CTRL+V.

If the action really isn't comparable to copy and paste, then some other key combo, but that's the basic idea.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by linenfort » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:54 am

I agree with some of what you said, azurekep. I never meant to do away with the mouse altogether. It's too useful. (All keys and no mouse works in vi, but not much else).

I just wish, for example, that you could initiate a trade at Vanguard by typing B for Buy or S for Sell (or even T for Trade) as an alternative to slogging your way through pop-up menus.
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by azurekep » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:09 pm

linenfort wrote:I agree with some of what you said, azurekep. I never meant to do away with the mouse altogether. It's too useful. (All keys and no mouse works in vi, but not much else).

I just wish, for example, that you could initiate a trade at Vanguard by typing B for Buy or S for Sell (or even T for Trade) as an alternative to slogging your way through pop-up menus.
I see your point.

I'm more familiar with Fidelity, and recent changes there had the goal of giving more options to mobile users. I suspect that's where the priorities lie: tailoring sites to smart phones.

The changes had the perverse effect of making things more complicated for PC users. One now has two choices in how to start a trade -- one calls up the normal (now called "expanded") trade dialog; another calls up a pop-up menu (geared towards phones). I haven't looked to see if keyboard shortcuts have been incorporated (I doubt it), though there are greater customization options to the interface overall. The latter seem more designed to control how much information is displayed on the home screen.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by linenfort » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:23 pm

Yeah, definitely more tailored to smart phones these days.
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:44 pm

linenfort wrote:I just wish, for example, that you could initiate a trade at Vanguard by typing B for Buy or S for Sell (or even T for Trade) as an alternative to slogging your way through pop-up menus.
I find mousing through (well organized) menus is best for things I do once or infrequently, while keyboard commands are best for things I do frequently. So ... You're trading too much :twisted: Don't just do something, sit there. :twisted: :twisted:

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by *3!4!/5! » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:07 pm

David Jay wrote:Voice recognition is the future. You see it in things like digital assistants (Siri, Cortana) and Amazon Alexa.

Shades of the original Star Trek: "Computer,..."
No that's a nightmare. Talking is for communicating with humans. I never want to have to communicate with an electronic device that way. It's such a horrific nightmare. It simply doesn't work 99.9% of the time.

I want to communicate with computers using discrete clicks manipulated with my hands. That is the easiest, most natural, most reliable way to convey my intentions to a digital device.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by linenfort » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:12 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:
linenfort wrote:I just wish, for example, that you could initiate a trade at Vanguard by typing B for Buy or S for Sell (or even T for Trade) as an alternative to slogging your way through pop-up menus.
I find mousing through (well organized) menus is best for things I do once or infrequently, while keyboard commands are best for things I do frequently. So ... You're trading too much :twisted: Don't just do something, sit there. :twisted: :twisted:
Your point is valid. :happy I mostly do that for someone else, an elderly non-boglehead.
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by just frank » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:25 am

linenfort wrote: To those of you who said, "There are trackpads, you know" - yes, I have a standalone apple trackpad that I bought for my desktop. It's great. I can keep it on my cluttered desk, and not having to move it across the desk like a mouse makes a big difference.
A query....do you use the 'multi-touch' capabilities of that trackpad? A trackpad is much more than a mouse replacement....in many ways it is better than a touchscreen.

Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wyVwZUuKOw

I have seen many frustrated computers users who are simply not using their input device as intended, often alleviated by a 5 minute tutorial.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by senior83 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:44 pm

lightheir wrote:- How do you cut and copy a file in Windows or Safari?

ANswer: Drag and drop one file from one area to another. The end.
ctrl-C ctrl-V (or cmd-C cmd-V) :mrgreen:
just frank wrote:A query....do you use the 'multi-touch' capabilities of that trackpad? A trackpad is much more than a mouse replacement....in many ways it is better than a touchscreen.
Two-finger scroll and two-finger click are godsends.

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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by linenfort » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:24 pm

just frank wrote:
linenfort wrote: To those of you who said, "There are trackpads, you know" - yes, I have a standalone apple trackpad that I bought for my desktop. It's great. I can keep it on my cluttered desk, and not having to move it across the desk like a mouse makes a big difference.
A query....do you use the 'multi-touch' capabilities of that trackpad?
...
Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wyVwZUuKOw
...
Pretty much, yes. While I don't pinch and zoom photos the way I do on an ipad, I use a lot of navigation gestures and secondary clicks.
I love the standalone trackpad, and I love that it is silent.

Still, nothing beats a keypress when a website offers it.
If I could press a special key + S to submit this post, that's how I'd do it.
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Re: Why is everything done with a mouse?

Post by ladders11 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:28 pm

I have a touchscreen convertible laptop, and love it for reading/scrolling down. It's also speedy for filling out forms.

I know a lot of the Excel keyboard shortcuts for work, but if I don't use them I forget.

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