That’s Great, Now Please Fix

Did you hear about the mouse? It’s a mouse that has no less than 18 buttons. From the press release:

“With a revolutionary and patented design featuring 18 buttons, an analog joystick, and support for as many as 52 key commands, the OOMouse is intended to provide a faster and more efficient user interface for most complex software applications than the conventional icons, pull-down menus, and hotkeys presently permit.”

This is the same logic that brought us the 5-blade razor. Somebody please smack these people with a copy of The Design of Everyday Things. Why would anybody want such a complicated thing? Beginning users will not be interested in memorizing 18 unmarked buttons. And for advanced users, ordinary keyboard shortcuts are much more effective anyway, because they will prefer to keep their fingers near the home row (the row from “asdf” to “jkl;” – touch typists are trained to put their fingers there at all times). For maximum speed, you want to move your hand away from the keyboard as little as possible.

This is even more ironic when you consider that the suite, in spite of all its open-source karma, is still full of tiny annoyances. What needs now is a focus on user-friendliness, not a mouse that looks like the console of a nuclear power-plant.

Just a tiny example. I’ve used MS Word a fair bit and I’ve learned a lot of handy keyboard shortcuts. Just try this: if you want to change the style of a paragraph, just press Ctrl + Shift + S, and start typing the name of the style you want. The same trick works with Ctrl + Shift + F for font and Ctrl + Shift + P for font size (points). If you have to do this a lot, this shortcut is a great time saver. I haven’t been able to find any equivalent shortcut in Is that the reason why we need an 18-button mouse now? Can’t we just fix the software itself?

I wonder why allowed their name to be used for such a weird project. I fear that this will only re-enforce the stereotype that open source software is never user-friendly.

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3 Responses to “That’s Great, Now Please Fix”

  1. Patrick says:

    I’ve always had the impression that this mouse was just a hoax. I can’t imagine anyone ever buying such a ugly looking thing. But you’re right about OpenOffice. I’ve used it but was not impressed. It just doesn’t have ‘it’, whatever that is.

  2. At first I thought it was a hoax too. But if it is then it’s a really elaborate one. The associated blog is very active, and even has photos.

  3. Michael says:

    Its a hoax if you ask me. The picture you provided in your post is CGI, not even real. 😛