Touchpad vs mouse

April 19, 2009 § Leave a comment

I’m sitting here at home, watching my not-quite-three-year-old daughter navigating the PBS Kids web site, and building sandcastles with Curious George on my wife’s laptop, and found myself wondering if she would be able to do as well with a mouse as she does with a touchpad.

As she moves the mouse around, any time she wants to click, she takes her finger completely off the touchpad, then moves to the buttons.  With a mouse, she wouldn’t be able to do that.  The mouse would continue to move around as she tried to click the button.

Which got me thinking about adults.  Using a mouse doesn’t come easily to older folks, and I’ve seen firsthand fully grown adults who can’t hold a mouse still while they try to double click, or even single click.  Maybe that’s what leads to some of the anxiety adults feel when they try to use computers for the first time.  The hand-eye coordination can be difficult, at best, if you’ve never used a mouse.  At least with a touchpad, you can take your eyes away from the screen and focus on your finger, and don’t have to worry about moving the cursor when you want to click.

And by the way, just the fact that my 2 3/4 year old can navigate with a mouse freaks me out.

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