Good design – The Computer Mouse

IMG_20160901_175658My example of an object that is designed well is my new computer mouse. It certainly isn’t revolutionary, but compared to the $5 (new) mouse I’ve been using for the past few years it’s great.

The mapping relationships of any remotely decent mouse are very natural. The cursor on screen moves in the direction you move the mouse. A page scrolls in the direction you move the mouse wheel. Modern mice (?) allow for on the fly adjustable DPI, so if you are confined to a small space or like moving your arm a lot you can adjust the sensitivity of the cursor. The trackball has been dropped in favor of a sensor on the bottom which detects how much you are moving the mouse, making it smoother.

The mouse embodies a few of the characteristics of Enargeia. It conveys significance through it’s depiction – that is, the lighting. It gives pleasure to the viewer. If someone had never used a computer before they would instinctively know that it is a significant object for operation. Depending on your threshold it could evoke a sense of wonder, and if a person from 100 years ago saw it it would undoubtedly be unlike anything they’d seen before.

A computer mouse is an everyday object that we often take for granted because of how well the technology works. When you really look into how it operates it’s actually pretty interesting.




5 thoughts on “Good design – The Computer Mouse

  1. I love how intuitive computer mice are today, especially the wireless ones. Since I primarily use a laptop, I always make sure I have a wireless mouse with me, and it still amazes me how well they work and how long they last! I can remember the days fifteen some years ago playing games on the family desktop and realizing the mouse has stopped working. My dad would pop out the track ball and de-gunk all of the dust and grime that would collect and cause the mouse to stick. A little gross — and a perfect reminder of how new technology betters our lives.

    I agree with you that a computer mouse can have enargeia. Because I keep my laptop relatively clean (no stickers!), I let my personality come out through my accessories: my mouse, bag, and flashdrives. I always make sure I pick mice that are colored or patterned, and they do brighten up my day when I use my computer!

  2. I feel as if the design of mice has come a long way in the recent years. They are now designed in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and also ergonomically pleasing making them more comfortable and visible nice. This has all been done while making them technically better. But with these 3 design changes I think the increased cost is definitely justified.

  3. I agree, the design of the mouse has come quite a ways over the last decade. Really no matter how cheap a mouse you purchase, the mouse does exactly what you want and need it to do for as long as you have it. The capabilities of the computer mouse have increased twofold and you can control many different programs simply from the shortcut buttons on the mouse alone. During my co-op stint with BorgWarner Morse SYS, there were multiple ergonomics reviews conducted with every day cubical items, one being the mouse. Management wanted to fit everyone with the most comfortable mouse that would allow them to be slightly more productive and efficient. With the number of different computer mouse designs there are, everyone was able to get a mouse that was most comfortable and form fitting for them. Obviously there is a price to pay with the computer mouses that have more capabilities and a sleeker design, but regardless of which one you purchase, it will always get the job done.

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