Message: previous - next
Month: February 2012

Re: [trinity-devel] Mouse buttons and terminology

From: "E. Liddell" <ejlddll@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 08:22:46 -0500
On Tue, 14 Feb 2012 09:28:30 +0400
Aleksey Midenkov <midenok@...> wrote:

> On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 8:30 AM, Calvin Morrison <mutantturkey@...> wrote:
> > On 13 February 2012 23:04, David C. Rankin
> > <drankinatty@...> wrote:
> >> On 02/08/2012 10:23 PM, Darrell Anderson wrote:
> >>> The best I have conceived is "primary" and "secondary" buttons. Yet I realize some people might find those terms confusing too.
> >>
> >> Primary and secondary work. Click, depress? 'Select' is what the mouse does to
> >> an object, not really what you do to the mouse.. From the technical writing
> >> standpoint it is almost useful to have an intro or synopsis at the beginning.
> >> Something along the lines of.
> >>
> >> The following reference will use the terms X, Y, Z to refer to the mouse buttons
> >> which control axis-1, axis-2, ... On a typical right-hand mouse configuration
> >> the left-button is primary, the right-button is secondary, etc..
> >>
> >> What you will run up against are the non-technical terms frequently used in
> >> mouse operations, i.e. click, shift-click, click & hold, click & drag,
> >> right-click, etc.. There is just no easy off-the-shelf set of terms that
> >> properly refer to that.
> >>
> >> Good luck Darrell, glad you're on it :)
> >>
> >> --
> >> David C. Rankin, J.D.,P.E.
> >>
> >
> > My thoughts are this:
> >
> > Primary & Secondary instead of right/left ( people have different
> > setups) and 3rd button as well.
> >
> > Click = physical action
> >
> 'Right click' sounds much shorter than 'Click the secondary button'
> and easier to read. 'Secondary click' sounds weird and misguiding.
> Suppose, that left-handled people get accustomed to 'right click' term
> long ago.
> 'Click & hold' sounds weird because to me 'click' means 'press &
> release'. Most natural words: click, press (press & hold), release.
> I suppose, that good communicator is the one who is understood
> lightly. That in fact does not mean dictionary strictness. In fact,
> people that try to restrict their words to dictionary semantic are
> hard to understand. That is because human language is a lot more than
> just dictionary terms. And language makes dictionaries (which means
> they always will be incomplete), but not dictionaries make the
> language.

Indeed.  This is a case in which I think precision might get in the
way of clarity.  "Primary" and "secondary" mouse buttons may be
obvious to us, but I'm not so sure about non-technical users, who
can get confused when they encounter anything unusual.  The
best solution would probably be to use "select" or similar device-agnostic
terms whenever possible, the usual "right/left-click" labels when 
necessary, and programmatically change the button labels in the 
documentation if the user has selected a different mouse configuration; 
absent the ability to switch labels on the fly, the best thing to do is 
probably to insert a note about what remapped mouse buttons will 
do to the instructions at the beginning of the documentation, and
proceed with the inaccurate-but-familiar labels.