The Transcendental GUI (was a thread from REALbasic vs. Revolution)

Rob Cozens rcozens at
Mon Oct 14 11:02:21 EDT 2002

>>I think you will agree that selecting an item from a displayed list 
>>is more easily accomplished with a mouse than a keyboard.
>I think you would agreee that the choice of which technique is 
>easier is determined by the typing skills of the user and by whether 
>one's hands are already on the keyboard or already on the mouse.

Before I can agree, I would need to understand how one would select a 
line in a list field from the keyboard.  Via arrow keys?  By typing 
the text of the line in a field until the string produced a unique 
match from the target field?

As you say, whether one is presently focused on the keyboard or mouse 
is a major consideration.  But honestly, given the choice of keeping 
your fingers on the keyboard and typing a 50-character URL or 
grabbing the mouse & selecting it from your browser's Bookmarks menu, 
aren't you at least tempted to go for the mouse?

When my OenoLog alpha tester first saw the winemaking screen, where 
activity date & time are entered by clicking on a calendar & clock, 
he asked, "Couldn't you change this so I could just type the date and 
time?"  My response was, "Yes, I can change that if it proves to be 
too cumbersome for you; but consider this:

You are entering reasonably current transaction dates & times in 
chronological order.  In most cases the transaction calendar will 
already be showing the correct month; so you can designate date and 
time in three mouse clicks...four if you have to go to the next or 
previous month.  It takes from 13 to 18 keystrokes to type the date 
and time.

But there's more at issue than just counting keystrokes vs clicks. 
Using the mouse, one may enter an incorrect date or time (eg: 9 Sept 
02 10:45 when it was supposed to be 8 Sept 02 10:54); but one can 
NEVER enter an invalid date (eg: 32 Sept 02 10:65).  When one clicks 
on a grape variety on a list, one can select chardonnay when the 
grapes were zinfandel; but one cannot enter 'chardonay' or 

OenoLog still captures date & time via the mouse.

I guess I'm suggesting focusing your annoyance on the programmer 
whose design has you switching back & forth between mouse & keyboard 
rather than on the mouse itself.

Rob Cozens
CCW, Serendipity Software Company

"And I, which was two fooles, do so grow three;
Who are a little wise, the best fooles bee."

from "The Triple Foole" by John Donne (1572-1631)

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