PITTSBURGH, April 3, 2000 — A recent report concludes that people who use external mice when working on laptop computers are more than twice as fast and twice as accurate on average than those who use built-in touchpads, trackballs and other tracking devices.
The report, included in the proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery’s 1999 Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) Conference, adds to mounting evidence that suggests that the standard input devices built into laptop computers are necessary, but may not be the most productive way to use a laptop computer.
The report found that mouse users are 48 to 58 percent faster and make 42 to 53 percent fewer errors than touchpad users. Moreover, mouse users are 39 percent to 54 percent faster and make 36 percent to 53 percent fewer errors than trackpoint users.
Although many laptop users choose to use a mouse, this presents a problem for traveling computer users who are looking for ways to lighten their travel load — an external mouse defeats the laptop’s space-saving benefit, since most mice require pads and a support surface.
Microsoft has provided a potential solution to this problem with the introduction of its new IntelliMouse Optical mouse with IntelliEye technology — a digital optical tracking mechanism that eliminates the need for a mouse ball and works on almost any surfaces, eliminating the need for a mouse pad. With IntelliMouse Optical, laptop users can mouse on their beverage trays, their pant legs, the seat next to them, or any other convenient surface. Its plug-and-play USB connection enables users to simply plug the mouse into a laptop and begin using it without restarting the computer. The IntelliMouse Optical features an ambidextrous design with both PC and Mac compatibility.
“This mouse has made traveling so much easier,”
says Tim O’Brien, Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical product manager.
“No matter how packed my flights are, I can turn on my laptop, plug in my mouse and I’m ready to go. I get envious stares from other travelers who are using touchpads or trackpoints.”
IntelliMouse Optical offers several features not found in most portable input devices, including five customizable buttons and a scrolling wheel. Users can cut and paste, move forward and back, and perform other personalized actions with the click of a mouse button. The product also features an eye-catching design with silver detailing and a glowing red underside.
*Report: “Performance Evaluation of Input Devices in Trajectory-based Tasks: An Application of the Steering Law”, Accot, Johnny and Shumin Zhai (1999)