Are UI developers all left handed?

Dmitrijs Ledkovs dmitrij.ledkov at
Thu Aug 9 00:39:04 UTC 2012

On 08/08/12 23:49, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> 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

Speaking as an almost 24, right-handed, snowboarding leading leg regular
(left). Worked a lot with poor laptop keyboards and touchpads, started
to feel wrist pain and now switched to Microsoft Ergonomic Desktop 7000
wireless keyboard and mouse. With regards to hand position the mouse is
semi-vertical, that is my wrist is holding the mouse as if I am about to
shake somebody's hand.

I have been using ubuntu netbook remix, through early unity and still
using unity with quantal. If I grab the mouse from default location, the
pointer may move slightly upwards or not at all. (gotta love the heavy
ergonomic mouse).

I agree that movement to the right is more impulsive (faster), while
movement to the left requires a decision (slower). But to me this is
organisation bias, rather than LTR / RTF issue per se.

Things I do quickly/impulsively and on the right:
- start / stop music
- change wifi hot spots
- logout, suspend, shutdown

Things I do on the left:
- I keep my dash always visible, medium size and I only have 8
applications on it, so i often switch between them by clicking on it.
Other times I use alt-tab alt-` (switching between windows of the same
app). All apps are always maximized. I rarely close apps.
- some toolbar buttons like 1 or 2 in a couple applications.
- I didn't use menus much, and now that they are hidden I use them even less

Things I do on the keyboard:
- Everything else (I am an emacs user/lover as well)

It would be interested to do a mirror test (switch everything LTR to
RTL). My gut feeling after a dip of productivity, I will be back to same
speed. I cannot afford a productivity dip, so I will not test this. I am
not sure how to do a double blind test, cause self-reported results can
be easily spoofed/faked.


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