Archive for October, 2007

Computer Input

26 October, 2007

 

Sometime over the past twenty years or so, there was a shift in thinking of computer users.  The two primary inputs for computers – keyboard and mouse – have switched places in people’s minds as to which is the more intuitive input.  In previous years, computer users could grasp typing just fine (even if the letter appearing on a screen was just short of magic), but explaining a mouse was difficult.  There was this issue of mentally mapping: you push forward to move the cursor on the screen upward.

 

Nowadays the mouse is the assumed easy input.  Casual online games will often be designed to use only mouse input.  Including any keyboard input (even if only the unmistakable arrow keys) means that fewer people will be able to ‘get’ the game easily.

 

I’m not entirely sure why this shift happened.  I suspect that mouse input is actually more intuitive and easier to understand.  Keyboards were only more immediately graspable because people were already familiar with typewriters.  Now that people are using computers first (rather than re-learning word processing from typewriters), we’re seeing mouses as the preferred simple input.