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Friday, April 21, 2006

Dont Click It: Interface Breakthrough or Usability Nightmare?

I stumbled across an interesting experiment in user interface design a couple of days ago that may make you re-evaluate your relationship with your mouse. How hooked are you on clicking that button? Can you explore a web site without using your index finger? How easily can you navigate when deprived of a mouse click and a keyboard? How will you feel about the experience? Should you even care?

We are so accustomed to the point and click approach to navigation that clicking on something that interests us is second nature, almost instinctive. Or so believes the Institute for Interactive Research. They built an experimental Flash-driven site to learn more about how people interact with content, and whether there's a better way.

DontClickIt is a content-rich site that will challenge you to experience it fully. It provides background information about the rationale for the project and several user interface experiments you can participate in. It even lets you spy on others who have visited the site.

This is a site you will either love or hate. I imagine many people click away after only a few seconds. If you can stick it out and get the hang of it, there's some very interesting content there. So, what's your take? Visit DontClickIt and drop a comment back here. Web breakthrough or usability nightmare?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this is very well written software for the web, however I think it is a terrible idea and would never be implemented. First, when you accidently mouse over something, you have to move your mouse back to where it was and then back around the area you moved it over by accident. This, interface in the long run takes much more mouse movement to navigate through. I would much rather use the buttons on my mouse so that the website "knows" exactly when I want to interact with it. The buttons on a mouse are very useful features and I actually have 5 buttons on my mouse plus a scroll wheel. I have this mouse because it makes everything easier. I can make each button do something that would otherwise require me to move the mouse around. If I am ever given the option to use a keyboard shortcut or something that would reduce the distance I need to move my mouse. I would enjoy a site that is very similar, but eliminates the use of a mouse at all and does all navigation with the keyboard.

It takes a lot less effort and dexterity to click a button than it does to move the mouse.

Christopher Trottier said...

I've used Lynx for yours. I feel it saves time if all I want is information -- and no distractions. I'm not addicted to my mouse. I just use it if certain websites require IE or FireFox.

Anonymous said...

I tried it, got distracted and forgot to post on this.

My complaint is that it was and is murder on my carpal tunnel syndrome. it takes a lot more wrist motion for me to do the same things that it is easier for me to do the 'old' way.

My running bet is that if it was implemented we would see more wrist problems.

Pam said...

I'm sitting here right now, with a wrist support. There has to be a better way.