Mouse Cursors and Text - How the tiniest things matter...

The very smallest details of a user's experience can add up to make a significant difference in the effectiveness of (or satisfaction with) any product. Here, we'll look at the eensy weensy issue of the mouse cursor while typing. In many cases, a computer user will have clicked a location where he intends to begin typing; the problem is that this leaves the cursor hanging out and blocking a clear view of the text right in the area where he's typing. That little text-bracket cursor, especially with a snazzy drop-shadow effect, can definitely block out a letter or two. The impact? The user takes the additional second or two to reach over to the mouse, send the cursor packing, and return his hands to the keyboard. Sure, it's a tiny bit of time, but many times throughout the day, and they add up! Also, it's possible that that little interruption can throw the mental train off track - especially when the "working" state of mind is particularly fragile and vulnerable to distractions.

To address this tiny problem, there's some tiny software: MouseAway (via Lifehacker), shown in action in the animation above. It's the kind of third-party fix that operating system designers should look to for inspiration for their future versions - to make them just a tiny bit better.

And hey, we've hit a milestone - this is Unpressable Buttons' 100th Post! Coming soon, a rant on the problems I (may have) had with the design of champagne bottles and corks...?

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