Inappropriate mouse behavior...

Igor de Oliveira Couto info at
Mon Nov 18 19:06:01 EST 2002

Dear Jan,

I greatly enjoyed reading your response!

On Tuesday, November 19, 2002, at 09:35  AM, Jan Schenkel wrote:

> At the risk of adding fuel to the UI wars, just a few
> thoughts.
> The principle of 'forgiveness' applies IMO more to the
> ability of a user to 'back out' of a situation by
> moving his mouse out of the control and resting
> assured nothing bad is going to happen.
> If I were in an application where i'd have to be
> carefull where I leave my mouse in case i want to
> avoid an action, I wouldn't dare to click anymore.

Point taken. Totally agree!

>> What does not make sense is for me to be able to
>> have a mouse button
>> DOWN over a clickable area WITHOUT any response from
>> the system.
> Let go of the mouse and start a new action. Much more
> intuitive for the average user.

Yes, and indeed, that is the way the vast majority of applications work.

> While it is desirable that developers have as much
> freedom as possible, we should make sure not to stray
> too far from the environment the user has come to
> know.
> As a developer of business applications, I find that
> users already have a different mindset than
> programmers to begin with, so what is logical to us
> might prove very confusing to them.
> Likewise, they want to get on with the job instead of
> having to think 'oh, wait, what did I have to do again
> in this program?' -- then we're back to DOS and the
> days before consistent GUI-design.
> And to people who already have to combine different
> programs like Excel, Word, PowerPoint and a set of
> administrative applications with legacy interfaces, a
> common ground is a life-saver.

Absolutely! And the 'relief' and 'comfort' provided by that interface 
familiarity is something that we all, as users, have experienced as 
well. My only comment here is that I do believe in giving developers 
the choice!

> Does this mean we shouldn't step in and try to come up
> with new ways that might make it easier for the user
> to accomplish his or her goals?
> Of course not, quite the opposite in fact.


As you noticed yourself, sometimes you will NEED to diverge from the 
'norm', due to the requirements of the project. This does not 
necessarily make your software clumsy and inoperable  - or confusing to 
the user. It is just a matter of controlling how the user deals with 
the 'differences' that your software presents.

Many thanks for your constructive remarks!

Kind Regards,
Igor de Oliveira Couto
info at

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