by phil on Saturday Feb 10, 2007 4:44 PM
Maybe it's because I've been an interactivity designer for ten years, but for some reason, I've been thinking a lot about mouse clicks.
In the middle of surfing the Internet, sometimes my flow is interrupted, and I have a rare moment of self-consciousness. The mouse cursor doesn't feel like the anima resulting from my Logitech G5 Laser mouse, but rather something connected directly to my mind. When I press on a Windows Start menu, I feel like a third pointing finger is floating in front of me and actually pressing that button. Clicking and dragging to highlight text, for example, feels like this phantom limb is bristling across a textured surface and painting along the way. Mousing over a menu item and seeing it change colors feels like a unique kinesthetic process in its own right.
A lot of interactive design involves making interfaces that feel harmonious with our minds and body. Interfaces should be responsive and provide feedback. The illusion of tactile input is something that assists in the suspension of the disbelief that we haven't actually merged yet with machines.