Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Must We Click To Interact? 177

Posted by kdawson
from the step-away-from-the-mouse-button dept.
Rockgod writes, "Here is an interesting experiment (warning: heavy Flash!!) that urges you not to click anywhere in the site yet wants you to navigate through it. It's an exploration of the clicking habit of computer users and aims to help understand why it is so hard not to click." The site records the mouse movements of each visitor and offers you a sample of them to replay. Doing so is a little unnerving, like peering into people's minds.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Must We Click To Interact?

Comments Filter:
  • ...but I was practising not clicking
  • As if mouse use wasn't straining enough when it doesn't matter where your cursor is most of the time. I predict that such interfaces would increase the incidence of RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome, and general tension.
    • by MrTrick (673182)
      It's not very good for a mouse hand, I'll give you that.
      Trust me, it's even worse with a trackpad!

      I do think it'd be very useful to learn what sort of non-clicking interface conventions work better than others - there are some situations where you'd have positional control (ie something that tracks the eyes to see what you're looking at) but not an actuator to click. (you couldn't use 'blinking' or you'd have FAR too many false positives.
    • by teslar (706653)
      Never mind carpal tunnel, that constant flashing of content popping on and off as you try to make your way to the menu you actually want to access is enough to give anyone epileptic fits.

      The click is a way of showing an intent to view the content available under that menu/button/whatever. Just showing it anyway with the implicit assumption that it will be hidden again anyway if it isn't what the user wanted to see is a bad design decision.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @05:32AM (#16670459)
    The cursor isn't always "pointed at something" when it is over the client window. Clicking is often unnecessary, but not always. Anything that reverses itself at once when the cursor leaves the area is fine, but if actions which require another action to reverse the effect are triggered by a mouse-over, users feel that they need to be careful where they point their mouse. They shouldn't have to be careful because mouse movement is not exclusive to one application.
    • by pchan- (118053) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @05:43AM (#16670529) Journal
      Someone mod this AC up. It's not that users "need" to click. It's that the mouse interface is designed to safely float over elements without triggering them (although the old X-mouse is a notable departure from this). Only when the user has hit the target is the mouse "active". This is because the mouse is an imprecise and difficult to control tool. Have you ever tried freehand drawing with it? Compare that to what you can do with a pen. Forcing precision on the mouse action requires finer movement, greatly increases the likelyhood of unintentionally selecting something, and is generally far more stressful. This is why the users seem to get anxious and want to click. They really want to avoid this horrid new interface that, for some reason, some jackass is trying to force on them.
      • by Ksempac (934247)
        Forcing precision on the mouse action requires finer movement, greatly increases the likelyhood of unintentionally selecting something, and is generally far more stressful. This is why the users seem to get anxious and want to click. They really want to avoid this horrid new interface that, for some reason, some jackass is trying to force on them.

        I dont think this is the reason why its hard not to click. I think thats because Mice are nice toys : They are little things in our hands who do a really nice
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lord_Dweomer (648696)

        Compare that to what you can do with a pen. Forcing precision on the mouse action requires finer movement, greatly increases the likelyhood of unintentionally selecting something, and is generally far more stressful. This is why the users seem to get anxious and want to click. They really want to avoid this horrid new interface that, for some reason, some jackass is trying to force on them.

        Funny you should mention a pen. While it uses a pencil, the new Leo Burnett [www.leoburnett] website (they are one of the bigger ad ag

      • All of which was why dontclick.it originally drove me to add an iGesture touch pad [amazon.com] to my Christmas 2003 wishlist. At the same time I chased after my first Tablet PC. I'm happy to report in response to "news" of dontclick.it that consumers thinking differently have some great hardware alternatives, granted some of them may lock you into software "alternatives" the typical /.er might rather avoid. UMPCs with the Touch Pack [microsoft.com] have taken it to the glorious next level, where finally no other tool (pen) need be hel

      • A "horrible interface" is how I perceive any GUI that miniturizes the text and button past the point of easy clicking. A button you want to hit frequently ought to be at least 2cm wide, and 1 cm tall, and something like a page refresh should be larger.
        • by bynary (827120)
          Read "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug for an excellent perspective on interface design. The bigger a button is, the easier it is to click. If you have to make your buttons small to get them to all fit, you have too many buttons.
          • Thinking about interfaces in terms of Slashdot or even my own blog, the sidebar is way too cluttered. It's hard to decide what to either leave off, or relegate to a secondary menu, because as people learned from Google page rank, if you're not on the first page, your link is doomed.
      • Have you ever tried freehand drawing with [a mouse]? Compare that to what you can do with a pen.

        Compare that to what you COULD do when you first tried out a pen.
        Don't forget that you were trained for years and years to use a pen to scribble things.

        With a pen I can make a stranger's portrait for cash, I would, I assume, have a harder time doing that with a mouse since I've spent so much more time drawing with a pen that with a mouse (I never actually tried a portrait with a mouse... you've given me a nice ar
        • This is something that we covered in my UI design class.

          A useful heuristic for determining an upper-bound of dexterity of a part of the body is to compare the mass of the part with the mass of the muscle that moves it. Of course you can have less dexterity than that (eg. a baby), but there is also an upper limit.

          When you're using a mouse, you're primarily moving your wrist or your elbow. These are pretty good. However, your fingers simply have much better dexterity, because the muscles that move them
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259)
      Not only that, but if simply moving the cursor over an interface element is enough to activate it, you're going to end up tracing a very circuitous route around the screen in order to avoid activating any elements by mistake.

      RSI is already a worry when we can take the shortest route to an element, without having to add lots of unnecessary manoeuvring around icons, etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @05:34AM (#16670469)
    Moving the mouse around to navigate was fine, but after a while I felt a bit like I was chewing without swallowing. There's some kind of satisfaction with the click. Maybe it's just habit, but after swooping around without clickin' I felt frustrated and annoyed. Like the UI was doing everything it could to keep me from that button. If normal mouse-using is me going "i want.... THAT." I felt like I was going "I want... I want... I want... I want..." I must have satisfaction, dammit.

    They say one of a baby's first non-verbal forms communication is pointing. Clicking must be somewhere just after that.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``They say one of a baby's first non-verbal forms communication is pointing. Clicking must be somewhere just after that.'' /me points the mouse at the submit button, then tries to put it in his mouth
  • Subject (Score:2, Funny)

    by Legion303 (97901)
    Here we are at only a couple of comments, and already the focus of his site has shifted from studying how visitors interact with the site to studying his page timeout settings.
  • HHGTTG (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BenjyD (316700) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @05:37AM (#16670477)
    The site reminds me too much of the gesture-controlled radio in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: you have to sit perfectly still while listening or you'll change the channel.
  • This is really old stuff, I just checked my IRC logfiles and found it - exactly 9 months ago.
    • -Nerd!
  • No (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @05:39AM (#16670493) Homepage Journal
    ``Must We Click To Interact?''

    No. I can use the shell, read and write mail and Usenet, surf the web, chat with others, manage windows, etc., all without using the mouse. I rarely even find the mouse convenient; it sits there a long movement away from where my hands are (on the keyboard), and it requires adjusting hand movement to the position of a pointer in a different plane.
    • by Suhas (232056)
      RTFA...err...whatever
    • you have to click the keys on the keyboard
    • by dosius (230542)
      I have to keep the mouse on a flat surface, I can hold the keyboard on my lap, using a mouse is rather inconvenient for me. I should buy a keyboard with a trackball in it, then I have the best of both worlds, until then I use mousekeys which both Windows 9x/2K/XP and X Window support. (Shift-NumLk in any X I've used.)

      -uso.
    • by hackstraw (262471) *
      No. I can use the shell, read and write mail and Usenet, surf the web, chat with others, manage windows, etc., all without using the mouse. I rarely even find the mouse convenient; it sits there a long movement away from where my hands are (on the keyboard), and it requires adjusting hand movement to the position of a pointer in a different plane.

      Don't even start the ergonomics issues with computers. Mice are only the beginning.

      OK, we have a keyboard that is designed to slow english text input down. Then
      • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
        ``OK, we have a keyboard that is designed to slow english text input down.''

        I use a modified form of Dvorak. Long live xmodmap. ;-)
      • by BokLM (550487) *
        I hate to say this, but actually (and ironically) Windows is the best OS to have if your mouse is broken. OS X is the worst.

        Are you kidding ? I'm using almost exusivly the keyboard on my Linux System, and it's far far better and faster than what I could do using Windows. I can move windows, change the size of windows, change virtual desktop, open new programs, etc ... using only a few key stroke. ion is a very good window manager for that, but most other WM available on Linux can be configured so that almos
    • by CDarklock (869868)
      But isn't the keyboard technically just a hundred-button mouse with really crappy resolution?
  • The site is down. Hooray for Slashdot. The ultimate click-relief for websites.
  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @05:40AM (#16670501)
    I'm wondering if even they miss the point of a click. I tried out the site and the problem is unexpected things triggering when I move the pointer past them. The click is a confirmation of a selection, so the pointer selects an option (from a massive grid on our screen) but the click confirms it. Otherwise, as happens with this site, you end up going to wrong places because you have no way of confirming a selection.
    • by TheLink (130905)
      Yeah. Try designing an effective UI to play counterstrike with just a mouse with no mouse buttons - no keyboard or other input.

      Without a click or some other explicit action (mouse gesture?), the app has to slow things down till it is sure a choice has been made. If things are too fast then the wrong thing happens.

      Also: what if you wanted to rapidly select a few words in your message box to delete/change them?

      So I don't really see what's the point of this. This sort of thing might be useful for disabled peop
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by p0tat03 (985078)

      Agreed. The click is a useful way to confirm your selection. I found that the site needlessly responded to my mouse movements just because I was in-transit to another location. Or worse, if I paused too long in one place it would take that as my choice and run with it. The only way to tell the difference between passing over a button and intending to click it is *time* spent there. This is time I would rather spend being productive, and not waiting for the system to realize that this button is indeed the on

      • by DingerX (847589)
        Not to mention mechanical issues. Not everyone has a decent mouse. In fact, most mice I have found people using are at best mediocre for control. I often find myself clicking on the wrong item already. I go to this site, start to read something, and all of a sudden it jumps to some entirely different section, and I have no way to get back. Forget it.

        Adapting the interface for more practical apppliations? Hey, didn't I see you cheering on the Wii the other day?
      • by SQLGuru (980662)
        I would think that a specific motion (think: jiggle) would be more appropriate for a non-clicking interface. Time spent at a location would vary, but imagine if the "click" action was a quick jiggle perpendicular to the current motion. As you move left to right on the screen, when you wanted to "click", you jiggled the mouse in an up/down fashion. Granted, RSI and all would probably go up significantly, but it would be more responsive than timing a pause.

        As an aside, Dasher (http://www.inference.phy.cam. [cam.ac.uk]
    • Read this sentence to confirm the fact that you want to visit goatse.cx.

      Oops. Too late. Hence, the click.
  • I like the idea, and it makes for a smooth site, but is Flash really required for this? Couldn't it be done another way?

    Another thought: I imagine that clicking is easier to manage than careful mouse manipulation for people with disabilities. By having to steer the mouse so precisely, it might make the site even harder for them.

    Nevertheless, I like the idea. It made me think about UI a bit, something that I haven't done in a while.
    • by njdj (458173) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @06:01AM (#16670603)

      but is Flash really required for this? Couldn't it be done another way?

      No, Flash is not really required. It could all have been done with Javascript and images, plus possibly image maps.

      I imagine that clicking is easier to manage than careful mouse manipulation for people with disabilities.

      I'm not disabled, but I'm getting on a bit, (age > 60) and I find clicking a bit troublesome. (Double-clicking is really troublesome, I can't imagine why anyone ever thought that double-clicking was a good idea.) Remember that the sensitivity of mouse movement is adjustable in most GUIs, so pointer manipulation is unlikely to be a problem for anyone.

      • by aj50 (789101)

        Remember that the sensitivity of mouse movement is adjustable in most GUIs, so pointer manipulation is unlikely to be a problem for anyone.

        Possibly, but however the mouse sensitivity is set up, I have seen people (mostly young children, or older people) being completely unable to get the pointer over the X to close a window or to move the mouse from one side of the screen to the other within the space of two mouse pads. Also, not clicking requires greater pointer control, I found it much more difficult

  • The click-less interface is nice. But I miss the audible feedback. They should play a small "click" each time a button is activated.
  • .. we never even read the article anyway, much less click on it. Another job well done slashdot!
  • Seriously you call that news? This site is very very very old. Slashdot: Archive.org for nerds, stuff that "may" matters!
  • nope (Score:3, Informative)

    by rm999 (775449) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @05:55AM (#16670585)
    I actually found this site very hard to navigate. I think this is a direct result of the no-click rule in designing it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300)
      Well I am one of those people who move the mouse out of the way after I select stuff to read. On this site it is damn annoying because it opens the text then I move the mouse out of the way to read it because I don't like an arrow on my text. I guess the site is good for people who setup there window managers with sloppy focus that follows the mouse, with instant bring to front on focus. But clicking is a way to say Dude that is what I want to see show it to me not just my mouse moving over it.
    • by Sigma 7 (266129)
      I actually found this site very hard to navigate. I think this is a direct result of the no-click rule in designing it.


      As you know, touchpads on laptops "click" whenever you do a "tap" on them. By default, this is sensitive.

      The mandatory no-clicking tends to mess users up - then again, nobody should be using defective hardware anyway.
  • The interface is unusable for me - In the 'Story' part I am unable to read any of these texts, because they disappear as soon as I move the mouse cursor away - and I need to move the mouse cursor away because it obscures the text that I want to read.
    • by Peeteriz (821290)
      Also, another two flaws -
      1) in the 'choose a movement to be replayed' - I pointed at one of the items, and a 'Go' popped up on the left of the name. I wanted to point at another item - the next one, but in the process of doing so, the mouse went through the 'Go' button, which closed the choice window and started an animation..

      2) no visible way to stop the prerecorded animation, since it didn't respond to movements, didn't respond to clicks.
    • by de Selby (167520)
      I couldn't even find the story part. I moved the mouse over the entire visible screen and nothing happened. :(
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @06:00AM (#16670595)
    Human being, when they want to manipulate an object in the physical world, first think "reach the object" then "grab onto the object" (or, generally speaking, "do something with the object"). It's not conscious of course, but that's the way the human brain is designed work.

    Now the GUI interface is a simulated world with objects to manipulate, therefore it's perfectly normal that people want to click. In fact, I doubt clicking is a habit that can be changed, I think it's hardwired in the brain. Imagine, back in the real world: would you reach for a pen and wait for it to attach itself to your hand? of course not, you close your fingers to pick it up. Well, same for computers: you point an object with the pointer then click to "do something". It's natural.
    • It's natural because you're used to it. I went on this site a few months ago and found it really easy not to click for like 10 minutes, I think I just clicked in the end as a test. It was rather cool just controlling things without clicking, though of course it's rather contrived as well, pretty pointless.

      Mouse gestures could maybe improve it. I tried mouse gestures on Opera once I think, reminded me of Black and White, but I'm fine with just clicking buttons for now (plus I don't know how well mouse ges
  • too many ... links ... shiny .... buttons ... must click ... all ... aarrggghhh ....
  • by AEton (654737) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @06:09AM (#16670631)
    ...why use the mouse at all [rrrrthats5rs.com]?
  • Since everybody says the site is /.ed, I won't try to connect, but I'll just give my 0.02 here.

    My wife and I started letting our son play some games designed for babies when he was about 2 years old. At the time, he was just learning to use the mouse. One of the games was perfect in not requiring him to click on the (rather large) graphical sprites in order to interact with the game. As long as the mouse hovered for a sufficiently long time over an object, the game treated that as equivalent to a click.
  • The site made me remember to the one-screen websites I saw mostly 8-9 years ago. They used onmouseover events to shrink the (otherwise lengthy) pages to the height of a fullscreen browser window (minus menus buttons etc.). I'm sure there are many of them even today just didn't stumble into them nowadays.
    An interesting demonstration of the idea is in an article [alistapart.com] on Alistapart.
  • ...since the site is already dead.
  • by rduke15 (721841)
    Real Men Don't Click [ee.ethz.ch] anyway...
  • I played about for a while. It was disconcerting, but kinda fun. Then I went to my back button to come back here, and forgot to click it.
  • to even view the site I have to ... click it! LOL
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @06:32AM (#16670709)
    Using a mouse interface without clicking is akin to using a command line interface without pressing enter. The mouse click serves a very important purpose - to ensure that selections and actions are performed on the correct item. This greatly reduces errors, increases the speed of interaction, and reduces the real estate required by the interface.

    Creative ways of using a mouse have been tried repeatedly (such as the gesture selection system in Black and White and Darwinia), but the conclusion is invariably that such systems are just pains in the ass once the novelty wears off.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)
      Creative ways of using a mouse have been tried repeatedly (such as the gesture selection system in Black and White and Darwinia), but the conclusion is invariably that such systems are just pains in the ass once the novelty wears off.
      IMHO, mouse gestures in Opera are an amazing feature and significantly speed up browsing.

      Definitely not a 'novelty' feature... though you still need to click the right mouse button.
  • This is still as confusing as it was a year ago or two. It still makes me feel like one of those mythical people who fall for the blinky YOU'RE COMPUTER IS INFACTED BY AN IP ADDRESS!!! faux Windows dialogue box popups. No idea where the GUI ends and the document begins, or even if there's a difference between the two, or between a menu and a status bar and button and the window decoration.

    In short, it's like I've never used a computer before and everything's a mystery in both form and function. That's no
  • nice site (unfortunately some parts do not work ok with Flash 9 (beta) for linux); but it shows a lot of limitations when you try to use the "communicate -> contacts" part to send them an email. The interface requires you to keep your mouse on a text field to enter text - ok , I can do that, it was this way in the early days of X11/Athena interface ; but how am I supposed to send the message ?!? and, when I started moving the mouse around to try to send the message , I lost the whole text ! damn it! ei
  • While reading the "every story..." chapters I found I needed to move the mouse cursor out of the way- so that it wouldn't be over the presented text. Which closed the text or navigated me to the next chapter. The irritation factor of having to click is considerably lower than that of the alternatives (timed buttons, gestures), in my opinion.

    I consider 'idly' moving the mouse cursor around the equivalent to 'making up my mind about what I want to do' whereas clicking is saying 'do it'.

    A clickless interface m
  • ... don't see it, either.

    Slashdotted.
  • Tried it, hated it within 60 seconds.

    Yes, I can refrain from clicking; I'm not a total twitch, nor is my computer usage subconcious. Yes, I can navigate the site with the gestures. Does it make it easier to do things? No, it makes it far harder to get the right action without accidentally triggering others. If that was my banking site I'd be in a right mess by now.

    With a mouse I have two distinct, non-confusable actions: move and click. It's important that these are separate as I use them for distinct

  • Notice in the message board area, you had to press [Enter] to get it to accept your text? If he is going to go click free, he might as well go [Enter] key free too. Same difference.
  • In one of the pages (can't tell you how to get there!), they explain the Click Ergonomy. In the section "The brain", which happens to be my topic of research, they claim that an acoustic signal takes 700ms to provoke a reaction. As everyone can find for themselves, that's absolutely false. The first effect is immediate. Serious processing (such word recognition) takes around 100ms. Visual signals do seem to start working faster, but it takes at least 60ms before any cognitive effect of a visual system can b
  • It's way more precise.

    The idea is that you separate two actions: aiming and firing. It gives you the feedback on your aim, and then, when you're satisfied with it, you do the fire action.

    It's exactly the same why shooting arrows from a bow is more precise than throwing stones, and why shooting from a rifle is more precise than shooting arrows: the less movement you need after you got your aim, the more exact will the process be.
  • by Max Threshold (540114) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @07:30AM (#16670951)
    This is an Apple product feasibility study, isn't it? Is the next Mac going to have a zero-button mouse?
    • by ktappe (747125)
      his is an Apple product feasibility study, isn't it?
      If it had been, the site would have been Mac-compatible. It wasn't. Visiting it in Safari and Firefox 2, it is completely non-functional (yes, I have the latest Flash player installed.)

      -K

  • Is just annoying.

    If you've got a method that's intrinsically better, but different from what the user is familiar with, it still has to be a *lot* better in order to be useful in the real world.
    Take the Dvorak keyboard or GNU/Linux/X as case studies.

    The clickless mouse doesn't seem to cut it.
  • when he posted an article on slashdot, warned us "warning: heavy Flash!!", and yet posted a direct link instead of a mirror/cache?

    What sort of a system do these people think others are running? Sorry we don't all have OC3's and a rack full of blades in our basement.
  • For the longest time, I've been using Firefox's Tabbrowser preferences to use the mouse focus rather than a mouse click to switch between tabs. I've grown really used to it, and it's one of the first things I miss when I have to use someone else's machine.

    I think that alternative ways of navigating need to be looked at carefully - clicking is not the optimal way of interacting with computers *all* the time. The above site needs to be looked at as a proof of concept, rather than as an optimally designed ex

  • This is an interesting site, but it feels like a student thesis project from, say, Parsons' Design & Technology department [parsons.edu]. It's interesting, somewhat humorous, makes you think a little about your habits, and may even -- someday, perhaps, with enough work -- lead to something practical.

    I'm riding a train right now, and the guy across from me has a wireless mouse. When he's not using it (e.g. he's typing), the mouse keeps sliding around the tray surface when the train turns or bumps. A clickless int

  • Why are you jumping on the guy calling him a "jackass" and "idiot"?
    Why are you asking silly questions "but why is it in Flash"?

    Does it matter? It's just a fun experimental site and nothing more. Most people replying here have an attitude that looks like they genuinely believe the author is going to sneak in their offices while they sleep and steal their mouse buttons.

    Noone is taking away clicks from you, people! Click freely! Feeling better now?

    I have the feeling even the author doesn't take his experiment
  • by mapkinase (958129)
    "Mom, look, no hands!"
  • Must we ask stupid rhetorical questions to get a mention on Slashdot?
  • by mrseigen (518390)

    Don't you have to click with IE7 to activate Flash before it can respond to mouseover events?


  • As accustomed to skipping TFA as Slashdotters are, I'm sure they'd have no problems not clicking on this one, too.

A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable. -- Thomas Jefferson

Working...