Better Ways to Use a Mouse

by Ian

in Interview, Storytelling, Technology

Doing the Obvious – Differently

We often do new things without thinking. If I throw you a ball, a shovel or a pillow you would instantly act with a catch or block as an automatic reaction depending on the situation.

If you were start a new task, especially something that you haven’t done before, how would you do it? If you’re to start using a microphone to record your voice for the first time, how would you use it or how would you have a conversation with someone so that it’s primarily about them?

Use Left Hand on Mouse

Which is the better way – Left or Right Hand?

Computer Mouse Technique – 101

In 1995 I purchased my first computer with a mouse. Being the type of person who actually reads manuals I thought, “How should I use it?”

I had seen a mouse being used by others but I had not used one myself and that got me thinking…

Often we just ape what others are doing, not thinking it though and going with what seems natural, after all nature will direct us to the correct way to do things, won’t it?

I asked myself, “I’m about to learn a new skill, so how should I use this new mouse in the best possible way?”

The logic went like this:

  • My  right hand is dominate
  • The most dexterous task is using the keyboard
  • Manipulating a mouse is a simple task
  • The enter key is in the right corner of the keyboard (full size, not laptop)
  • My right hand can easy find the enter key
  • The number pad is on the right of the keyboard
  • My right hand can only access the number pad
  • Other functions like home, arrow keys, and keyboard shortcuts are easier with my right hand
  • Sensible to keep my dominate right hand free for these tasks
  • If I have to train one hand to use the mouse I should choose the one for most benefit
  • Therefore I should use the mouse with my non-dominate left hand

So I began with the slightly awkward task of learning to use a new device. Sure it would have been marginally easier to use my right hand from the get go. I was able to learn the new skill with my left hand freeing up my right for all the tasks that I mentioned above. I  have increased functionality on the computer by using each hand for different tasks, clicking the mouse with my left hand and entering information with my right.

It’s Only a Mouse

Yes, it’s only the mouse and no real big deal but it’s the little things that we take for granted that build on each other and make life easier. In the case of recording Life Stories there are activities that seem normal and we just start but by thinking for a moment, it’s sensible to reconsider how it should be done and modify that normal behaviour to something more effective.

Recording Yourself

When using a microphone we need to be aware of a correct recording technique which is not the same as just sitting in a room telling stories to the greater environment. Preparing the stories to be told will be different to  rambling self murmurings that we have during the day. If you were to record yourself in that situation it would be unintelligible.

Recording Others in Conversation

Recording a directed conversation is not a normal conversation. It’s not a 50/50 shared conversation. Your role is simple to act as a catalyst and provoke interesting responses from the other person. If you were to record a normal conversation it wouldn’t have a bias towards their story and would drift into different subjects, many of no relevance to the person who’s Life Story you’re recording.

Even though it may seem obvious how to perform a new task and not even worth considering, taking the time to think it through will reveal much better ways of doing something and improving the end result.

What skills do you perform differently to others? We’d love to know your experiences in the comments below.

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