June 7, 2006

Idea: Two functions in one button

Okay, this one’s so simple that I shouldn’t even have to say it. It should have been done already.

The new Macbook still has just one button for clicking. A right-click is simulated by holding down control while you click. Or you can use the convoluted right-click shortcut where you put two fingers on the Trackpad while you click the Trackpad button with another finger. Yikes.

So to Apple I suggest the following solution. It merges the functionality of two buttons with the look and feel of one button:


Yes, it’s that simple. One button that you can click on either side of. And for people who don’t like this new style of button pushing, let them go to their Preferences and turn off two-button functionality, restoring their computer to the old fashioned single-button style they’d gotten used to. This way, instead of debating over what method of right-clicking works best, people can have all the options available and decide for themselves.

Apple can make music players that know where they’re being touched. They make a mouse that knows where it’s being touched. They can make a Trackpad that knows where it’s being touched. Why can’t they make a single button that knows where it’s being touched?


I like ideas like this that solve the problem for people that want it solved, yet allow it to remain the same for those who don’t want the change.

You’d think they’d integrate something like that in their portables, since the Mighty Mouse does essentially that.

It would be nice if they put that in the next version. At least when it’s not necessary to be mobile, you can use the mighty mouse. But, for me, that’s not the _point_ of a laptop, yanno?

Btw, I f*kin’ love the ironic sans font name. I would totally use that font. Please note, that was “freakin’”. *cough* I never swear. *cough*

Amen, dude. They’ve got it working great w/ the Mighty Mouse, why not implement the same functionality in the MB/P’s and let the user decide if they want to enable it or not?

That new “two-finger-right-click” is actually one of the most solid upgrades Apple has designed. It doubles as a “two-finger-scroll-wheel”, and I use it every day. (Though it does get annoying during Warcraft III.) Your suggestion would be a good add, too.

Here’s why a two button trackpad (or your suggestion) is a bad idea:

Trackpads provide relative mapping to the screen, not absolute (i.e. if you put your finger on the corner, the pointer shows up in the corner, like with a Wacom tablet).

This means you are dragging your finger around, lifting, moving, putting back down, dragging. You don’t know where your hand is relative to the trackpad (and thus the trackpad button). Hitting the correct part of the button means you need to know where your hand is. This is a really small penalty (to look down) but you’d do it hundreds - thousands of times a day. The inefficiency adds up. It’s similar to Fitt’s law and the debate over menu bars on the top of the screen VS menu bars on each window.

The two finger solution actually works great: Allows you to right click with one hand without needing to know where your hand is relative to the trackpad. Brilliant.

Sorry to tell U but that is already in use. Saw it maybe in Asus hmm..