April 22, 2003 | Category:

Mac Interfaces

In addition to menus that don’t work as well as they should, I would suggest that Macs have one more fatal flaw in terms of ease of use; although this is one that every Mac user will claim is a feature, rather than a bug.

One-button mice, oh how I hate you. Now, I understand the thinking behind only having one button: consistency. No matter where you are on the screen or what you’re doing, clicking will “activate” the object or menu you’re on. Very nice and simple.

The problem is that I like my right-mouse button; context-sensitivity is very helpful. It works in a generally consistent way. I can largely predict what options I’ll have quick access to from my mouse when I use it. If a program is unpredictable, then it’s the programs fault, not the hardware. This is also a very rare case these days. I can’t remember the last time I was surprised when a right-click didn’t do exactly what I expected it to do. I have, however, been very annoyed by websites which disable my ability to right-click, and by operating systems which assume that I’m too dumb to be able to remember a simple menu system.

As long as alternatives remain in menus, then how does offering a second mouse button hinder anyone? Not offering it is hindering at least one person.