Re: Keyboard vs. mouse

Subject: Re: Keyboard vs. mouse
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 1995 08:27:20 PST

Kelly Hoffman writes:

>Check out _Tog_on_Interface_ by Bruce Tognazzini, Addison-Wesley
>Publishing Company, 1992. If I remember correctly, his findings
>indicate the mouse is *actually* faster than keyboard shortcuts, but
>that many of the test subjects *perceived* the keyboard shortcuts to
>be faster.

Much depends on the interface in question. It's much easier to hit
the "PgDn" key than to move the mouse to a narrow little scroll bar
and click below the indicator square. Also, many programs have
obnoxious menuing systems, which require using a menu, a submenu,
and possibly a subsubmenu to select what you want. Keystroke shortcuts
are generally in a flat hierarchy, so you can often bypass a lot of

Also, functions that are typically used during typing, such as italicizing,
are much faster when tied to a function key than with the mouse. With
the function key, I do not stop typing at all; with the mouse, I stop
typing before and after each italicized word.

Keyboard accelerators are at their most dubious when used in mouse-intensive
operations like drawing -- though anything that keeps toolboxes from
popping up and obscuring your work is probably a Good Thing. In text-based
work, they're more useful, and for data entry, they're essential.

-- Robert

Robert Plamondon * High-Tech Technical Writing
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (503) 453-5841
"I regret that I have but one * for my country." -- Nathan Hale

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