Are UI developers all left handed?

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at
Wed Aug 8 22:49:33 UTC 2012

On Wednesday, August 08, 2012 02:35:00 PM Felix Miata wrote:
> On 2012/08/08 12:16 (GMT-0400) Phillip Susi composed:
> > Felix Miata wrote:
> >>  You're under 40, right? Under 30 too? 20?
> > 
> > 33 actually, though I don't see what that has to do with the price of
> > tea in China.
> Sadly obvious. If you've not studiously watched people over 50 or 80 try to
> use a computer you should. Then you should be able to discover some
> important realities about UI usability.
> >>  We all must navigate to a clicking point before clicking. You seem
> >>  to be assuming moving a mouse pointer is always easy. It isn't. Put
> >>  on your carpal tunnel or arthritis gloves and try it. Even just
> >>  using the wrong hand might give you some idea. Maybe the Windows 8
> >>  devs have discovered what the OP is getting at.
> > 
> > I am not aware of CTS or arthritis having a bias towards one side or
> > the other.  I assume only that whether you must move to the left or
> > the right, either is equally hard or easy.
> A natural proclivity on grasping it to send the pointer away from most
> likely targets is unhelpful, and even more so when CTS or arthritis makes
> every mouse movement difficult. According to the OP, toward upper right is
> the natural proclivity of a right-hander, while toward upper left is the
> natural proclivity of a left-hander, making natural proclivity helpful to
> left-handers and detrimental to right-handers who use Unity and Gnome Shell.
> My point is it is even more detrimental for those for whom mouse movement
> is difficult.

Speaking as an almost 50, left-handed-but-got-forced-to-start-right-handed-
with-mice-because-that-is-how-the-worked-back-then, occasional RSI sufferer who 
now switches the mouse from one side to the other as needed when the RSI 
starts to act up ...

I've never felt like the U/I design of any computer was left handed or right 
handed.  The LTR aspects of the design work because of the sequence people 
read in.  It should be (and I thought was) reversed in RTL languages.

Being someone with a reasonable amount of experience using a mouse with both 
hands, I can't say I've ever noticed a difference other than it takes a bit of 
getting used to whenever I switch.

On the KDE plasma-netbook interface you can switch windows either by hitting 
the upper left corner or clicking on the right most widget on the panel (which 
is at the top).  In that case, where I could do equivalent actions either way, 
I found myself going to the top right, even though it was slightly harder 
(requires a click) because that was how I started doing it.

My conclusion is that this is most a matter of habit and experience and none 
of us can generalize from our individual experiences about what is intuitive.  
The only way to discover that is find someone who's never used a computer 
before.  For people with any experience at all, they work best with something 
like what they've used before.

Scott K

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