Monday, February 19, 2007

Break Free of the Mouse

More choices than ever for injury prevention mice ...

"Break Free of the Mouse Alternatives to the conventional mouse pointer can relieve users' physical stress while building up a profitable new market. By Lamont Wood
Users need to control the cursor, and plopping a conventional mouse onto the users' desks has long served that purpose. The problem is that millions of nearly identical mice have been plopped onto the desks of millions of users, where they use them for hours daily, for years on end, repetitively making the same motions. Perhaps it's no coincidence that estimates of the prevalence of repetitive stress symptoms among computer users range up to 56 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

By offering your clients alternative mice you can enhance their satisfaction by helping them fight the repetitive stress plague. And let's not forget that alternative mice are not low-margin commodities, but up-scale after-market accessories -- a niche whose very existence you may have overlooked.

In this article, we'll take a look at three widely different examples: one that you control with your feet, one you control with your forearm instead of your wrist, and one you could hold in your mouth if you wanted to.

Foot-Controlled Mouse
If you've dreamed of not having to move your hand from the keyboard while using the mouse, the Nohands Mouse from Hunter Digital ($349.99), might be the one for you -- but as I'll explain, there are also reasons why it might not be.

The unit consists of two flat platforms that are each about the size and shape of the bottom of a clothes iron, as shown here:

Foot Mouse - Usability, User Interface Design

Foot Mouse

... Joystick Mouse
Retailing at various prices between $50 and $75, the Ergonomic Mouse (from 3M, and previously marketed as the Vertical Mouse), is a mouse that looks like a joystick. Or, you can call it a mouse with a joystick handle, as seen here:"    (Continued via    [Usability Resources]

Joystick Mouse - Usability, User Interface Design

Joystick Mouse

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