Mouse gesture

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The mouse gesture for "back" in Opera – the user holds down the right mouse button, moves the mouse left, and releases the right mouse button.

In computing, a mouse gesture is a way of combining computer mouse movements and clicks which the software recognizes as a specific command. Mouse gestures can provide quick access to common functions of a program. They can also be useful for people who have difficulties typing on a keyboard. For example, in a web browser, the user could navigate to the previously viewed page by pressing the right mouse button, moving the mouse briefly to the left, then releasing the button.


[edit] History

The first mouse gesture, the "drag," was introduced by Apple to replace a dedicated "move" button on mice shipped with its Macintosh and Lisa computers. Dragging involves holding down a mouse button while moving the mouse; the software interprets this as an action distinct from separate clicking and moving behaviors. Although this behavior has been adopted in a huge variety of software packages, few other gestures have been as successful.

[edit] Current use

As of 2005, most programs do not support gestures other than the drag operation. Each program that recognizes mouse gestures does so in its own way, sometimes allowing for very short mouse movement distances to be recognized as gestures, and sometimes requiring very precise emulation of a certain movement pattern (e.g. circle). Some implementations allow users to customize these factors.

Some video games have used mouse gestures. For example, in the Myth real-time tactics series, originally created by Bungie Software, players use them to order battlefield units to move in a desired direction. Another game using mouse gestures is Lionhead's Black & White. The game Arx Fatalis uses mouse gestures for drawing runes in the air to cast spells. Several Nintendo Wii games take advantage of such a system. Ōkami for the Playstation 2 system uses a system similar to mouse gestures; the player can enter a certain mode, by holding a face button and moving the analog stick to create a shape (circle, half-circle, line, etc) that performs a function in the game such as creating a bomb, or changing the world from night to day.

The Opera web browser has recognized mouse gestures since version 5.10 (April 2001). Several mouse gesture extensions are also available for the Mozilla Firefox browser. These extensions use almost identical gestures as Opera.

Some tools provide mouse gestures support in any application, such as gMote, Sensiva, StrokeIt and Mojo Gesture for Microsoft Windows. KDE includes universal mouse gesture support since version 3.2.

With the Advent of Multi-Touch (brought into the mainstream by Apple Inc. with its iPhone), Many of Apple Inc.'s products support Multi-Touch gestures. The iPhone and iPod Touch sport identical gestures, as do the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. The standard MacBook has identical Gesture support to the other MacBooks, but only allows for a maximum of 2 fingers to be used in any one gesture.

RealWorld Icon Editor can recognize 26 mouse gestures while images are being modified in its raster editor and it then performs either standard or custom actions. The action can by an execution of an image filter, change of the active drawing tool, or commands like Apply, Undo, Redo, etc.

[edit] Drawbacks

A major drawback of current gesture interaction solutions is the lack of support for two necessary user interface design principles, feedback and visibility. Feedback notification is required to indicate whether the gesture has been entered correctly by indicating the gesture recognized and the corresponding command activated, although Sensiva does approach this to some extent in providing voice notification. Mojo Sidekick provides an alternative solution with a pop-up click-through notification. The other principal is visibility of gestures, providing the user some means of learning the necessary gestures and the contexts they can be used in. Mojo gesture does this to some extent by providing pop-up cheat-sheets, that show a list of gestures, when the mouse pointer is held down. Both Mouse Gestures for Internet Explorer and ALToolbar Mouse Gestures display colored tracers that indicate the current motion that the user is taking to facilitate visual clues for the user.

One limitation with gesture interaction is the scope context in which the gestures can be used. For example each gesture has only one corresponding command for each application window. Mojo gesture has an interesting solution to this, which addresses this to some extent, by using floating click-through controls called charms, which allow an additional gesture context for each Charm control.

Note that holding down buttons while moving the mouse can be awkward and requires some practice, since the downwards action increases friction for the horizontal motion. An optical mouse would be less susceptible to changes in behavior than a ball mouse with increased friction because the sensor does not rely on mechanical contact to sense movement; a touchpad provides no added friction with all its buttons held down with a thumb. However, it was also argued that muscular tension resulting from holding down buttons could be exploited in user interface design as it gives constant feedback that the user is in a temporary state, or mode (Buxton, 1995).

[edit] Software

These applications add gestures to any software running on system:

[edit] Windows

[edit] Mac OS X

[edit] X11

[edit] SkyOS

[edit] Applications

These apps support gestures on their own:

[edit] Software libraries

  • iGesture Open Source Java framework for pen and mouse-based gesture recognition.
  • Java Swing Mouse Gestures Open source pure Java library for recognition and processing mouse gestures.
  • Lipi Toolkit Open source toolkit that supports recognition of arbitrary pen and mouse-based gestures as well as handwritten characters.
  • LibStroke is a stroke translation library in C/Java
  • Mouse Gestures for .NET Open source .NET component for mouse gestures recognition

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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