Keyboard vs. Mouse


I discovered, courtesy of John Gruber, a link to a very interesting article comparing the benefits of the keyboard vs. mouse interface that argues the mouse is faster. The money quote reads as follows:

We’ve done a cool $50 million of R & D on the Apple Human Interface. We discovered, among other things, two pertinent facts:

Test subjects consistently report that keyboarding is faster than mousing.
The stopwatch consistently proves mousing is faster than keyboarding.
This contradiction between user-experience and reality apparently forms the basis for many user/developers’ belief that the keyboard is faster.

People new to the mouse find the process of acquiring it every time they want to do anything other than type to be incredibly time-wasting. And therein lies the very advantage of the mouse: it is boring to find it because the two-second search does not require high-level cognitive engagement.

It takes two seconds to decide upon which special-function key to press. Deciding among abstract symbols is a high-level cognitive function. Not only is this decision not boring, the user actually experiences amnesia! Real amnesia! The time-slice spent making the decision simply ceases to exist.

Interesting food for thought for this Quicksilver junkie. Actually, I have always been pretty practical about these things. I just use what works whether it be the keyboard, mouse, or tea leaves. Anyway, you can read the full article right here.

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