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Attractive Icons

Icons attract the mouse pointer towards them
  (+4, -3)
(+4, -3)
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Whenever I go to click on an icon I must slow down and make small adjustments inorder to get right over top of the icon. Or if Im going to the start button I always miss it and end up in the void in the left corner until I move up a bit and click it. Why not have a feature to allow the mouse pointer to "lock in" on the icon and once locked into the icon the mouse pointer could jump to the next icon (or start button or icons on toolbars) based on the direction you move the mouse. Whats the space there used for other then wallpaper? For the shortcut to your display properties (to continue being windows centric here) that could be added as a right click menu option wether in the empty space or not.

This would be a feature that could be turned on or off.

Protector of Mankind, Jan 09 2002

UI Design Quiz to Give You Fitts http://www.asktog.c...nedToGiveFitts.html
Very excellent article on UI design and also covering why that "void" in the corner (and edges) of Windows are not so good. [bristolz, Jan 09 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

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       What you're describing is similar to a "snap (to grid)" option in some CAD programs. It might be helpful.   

       You could do the same thing by making icons that occupy deadspace between icons... so you have a tilework of icons.
seal, Jan 09 2002

       The "void in the corner" as you call it is a critical UI design flaw in Windows and a place where the MacOS clearly excels.   

       (hang on, I am looking for an especially thoughtful article about this exact issue--please stand by).   

       Hah! Success! See link.
bristolz, Jan 09 2002

       Peter, I can imagine that would be very annoying.   

       A better solution may be to have the icons enlarge as you near them, thus becoming easier targets. MacOS X uses this with the Dock bar. It's quite comical the first time you use it.   

       That article concurs with this line of thinking. Cool.
waugsqueke, Jan 09 2002

       I like the enlarging icon idea. I like the glowing idea as well. I also read that article and it definetly discusses what I am saying. Does that mean I should remove this idea? Is that the form on this site. I havent read anything that goes into the different ways to make icons that are easier to use so I think its a usefull idea to keep around.
Protector of Mankind, Jan 09 2002

       I thought this would be about designing prettier desktop icons. On topic you could do this, just have a small glow like some sort of force field, located around the icon to show you the area of influence the attractiveness will have
kaz, Jan 09 2002

       The 'Mouse Properties' in Microsoft Windows (all versions since 3.x) allow you to 'Snap to default' which automatically places the mouse cursor over the default button in any window. Additionally, the 'Accessibility Options' and 'Display Properties' allow you to modify the size of icons to whatever you like (up to double the default).
phoenix, Jan 10 2002

       This would be very annoying if done badly, but very useful if done well. It should be less an abrupt "snap" from focus to focus, more a dynamic variation of the mouse speed so that "attractive" areas of the screen would be lingered over by the mouse and "dead" areas would be sped over.   

       I'm wondering if this can be done in such a way that a swipe of the mouse from point X on the desktop would end up with the cursor at the same position, regardless of whether there's an icon in between or not: this would mean that familiar gestures would still work as expected but that icons and other targets would feel slightly, um, stickier.   

       FWIW, Protector, the space between icons on the Desktop isn't entirely wasted: it allows you room to draw a click-drag rectangle around one or more icons to select them.
JKew, Jan 13 2002

       Enlarging icons certainly is one option for increasing the target area. However, OS X doesn't enlarge them quite properly -- the icons move when the mouse moves, reducing the horizontal target area to the same as the unenlarged size.   

       It doesn't sound true, but I urge you to confirm this yourselves. Change your desktop background to a regular grid, and note the width of the unenlarged icon and the range in which the cursor is actually over the same icon.   

       The alternative is to slow down the mouse while over an icon, which also enlarges the target area.
cpt kangarooski, Feb 14 2002

       Ah! The excitement of the chase.
neelandan, Feb 14 2002

       [waugsqueke] I like that OS X feature too - I like to think of the icons excitedly shouting "Me! Me!" as they move towards your cursor.
[Protector of ManKind] - Re "Does that mean I should remove this idea? Is that the form on this site." - probably yes, as this is fairly mainstream HCI research, but then again maybe not, as what you describe isn't widely available and has sparked off some interesting annotations - you're in a sort of grey area. I'd leave it.
hippo, Feb 14 2002


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