Addendum to #29: Engelbart says a mouse should have more than one button

Turns out that I can hear most of the audio on the tape, so we’ll try to get that up soon. On the tape I asked Douglas Engelbart, inventor of the mouse, whether he liked a one-button mouse or a multi-button mouse. He replied that his first mouse had three buttons and the only reason it didn’t have more is that he couldn’t fit anymore on with the button technology of the day.

Oh, and I’m sorry for misspelling his name.

57 thoughts on “Addendum to #29: Engelbart says a mouse should have more than one button

  1. ok so its not really a comment, its kind of a question

    i read all these atricles claiming you can make your mighty mouse have a cut copy and paste function

    how the heck do i do that?!

    if you have any ideas id be really appreciative

    thanks!

    *Missy

  2. ok so its not really a comment, its kind of a question

    i read all these atricles claiming you can make your mighty mouse have a cut copy and paste function

    how the heck do i do that?!

    if you have any ideas id be really appreciative

    thanks!

    *Missy

  3. I’ve done tech support and know first hand that many users are utterly clueless for the simple reason that they don’t want to make any effort if nobody forces them. These are the same people whose car’s clocks display the wrong time after a DST shift until someone else fixes it for them. It’s covered in the manual in the glove compartment and often can be figured out just by looking at the dash but that would require mental effort. Horror! Good UI design is important but I have nothing but contempt for those who expect the computer to be a magical mind reading machine.

    Interface design needs to find its happy medium. Most Windows software I’ve ever used can be completely operated with just a single mouse button, which is proper. It makes things easier for the novices and impaired. But a good app also offers shortcuts for those who understand the use of the additional button(s). The now typical two buttons and a scroll wheel is probably the most that should thrown at most users without overloading the brains of those willing to expend some effort in learning. Additional buttons should be supported for those who have the desire but will be ignored by the majority. I really thought I’d like more buttons but remembering to use any beyond the 2+scroll has proven more trouble than it’s worth. But that just me.

    I’ve always known I’d want more than one mouse button even before I was accustomed to GUIs. I remember the original Mac ad campaign that had a caption for the mouse which read, “One mouse button, so you can never press the wrong one.” From the very first reading I took that to mean, “We think you’re too friggin’ dumb to deal with more than one button.”

  4. I’ve done tech support and know first hand that many users are utterly clueless for the simple reason that they don’t want to make any effort if nobody forces them. These are the same people whose car’s clocks display the wrong time after a DST shift until someone else fixes it for them. It’s covered in the manual in the glove compartment and often can be figured out just by looking at the dash but that would require mental effort. Horror! Good UI design is important but I have nothing but contempt for those who expect the computer to be a magical mind reading machine.

    Interface design needs to find its happy medium. Most Windows software I’ve ever used can be completely operated with just a single mouse button, which is proper. It makes things easier for the novices and impaired. But a good app also offers shortcuts for those who understand the use of the additional button(s). The now typical two buttons and a scroll wheel is probably the most that should thrown at most users without overloading the brains of those willing to expend some effort in learning. Additional buttons should be supported for those who have the desire but will be ignored by the majority. I really thought I’d like more buttons but remembering to use any beyond the 2+scroll has proven more trouble than it’s worth. But that just me.

    I’ve always known I’d want more than one mouse button even before I was accustomed to GUIs. I remember the original Mac ad campaign that had a caption for the mouse which read, “One mouse button, so you can never press the wrong one.” From the very first reading I took that to mean, “We think you’re too friggin’ dumb to deal with more than one button.”

Comments are closed.