Meaningful Interactions: Everyday Objects

Posted on
itpnyu designing meaningful interactions ux user experience design

An object I love… Roost laptop stand

The Roost laptop stand corrects the main ergonomic issue of using a laptop, the screen height. I use it whenever I plan on working on my laptop for several hours and often bring it around with me in my backpack.

This particular laptop stand has several features that make it good:

  • lightweight, strong, and flexible as a result of being made of FRP
  • foldable into a small package that easily slips into a bag
  • tall maximum height; tall enough to use at either sitting or standing desk
  • height adjustable
  • materials are relatively soft and do not scratch other items in my bag

An object that frustrates me… Apple Magic Mouse

I was given an Apple Magic Mouse 2 at work and was excited to use it, but found several flaws that make it unusable for me.

  • The overall shape is extremely flat and narrow, making it difficult to grip passively.
  • The edges of the top are sharp, adding to the overall discomfort.
  • The choice of glass top makes it very easy to keep clean, but it’s intended use as a gesture surface it is sticky and moves the mouse when gesturing.

The overall ergonomics are bad enough that I develop burning sensation around the base of my thumb if I use the Magic Mouse for more than an hour.

Possible adjustments

The main issue to fix first would be the basic ergonomics. Mice need some volume near the base to allow the palm to provide passive holding of the mouse. I can think of two basic options:

  1. Rework the overall shape into the common ergonomics wedge shape of many mice eg
  2. Make the mouse able to bend, allowing for adjustable volume. eg Microsoft Arc mouse.

The other improvement would be to incorporate different gestures than those of the trackpad. The upper 23 of the Magic Mouse is a general purpose tracking surface. It allows the user to input several different gestures, mostly directly ported from the trackpad.

However, several of them translate poorly, especially side swipe motions. Meanwhile, basic mouse operations do not function intuitively. For example, to right-click, the user must lift their left finger before clicking and third button clicking is entirely missing.