We showed the mouse to our friends and played with it for a while now. When we realized the world was ready to see it, we let the cat Mouse out of the bag. We waited until the release of the Windows consumer preview to make sure that users see a build that is close to the final release.
Read on to look at our findings…
Bias is inevitable. We tried to “Ctrl + Shift + Del” our opinion on the mouse from our brains before conducting the user studies. We explained the user how the TouchMouse is different from the other Computer Mice. We gave them a list of tasks, which included Reading email, Finding a picture and finally drawing a picture of a house. The users performed the list of tasks using both touch input and using the touch mouse.
Observations that took us by surprise
The more the merrier… it is true in the case of the number of users we test also. We tested uses between the ages of 19–60 (yes, 60!). Why did we go until 60? Microsoft said “Rich Tech savvy individuals”. The 60 year old we tested used a tablet PC for the past years (Yes, even before the iPad hit the drawing boards).
Flicking through pictures
As the participants were aware that the mouse has fully touch enabled surface, while browsing through the photos application, some of them started flicking their fingers
on top of the mouse surface from right to left. That did notgive any feedback or change anything in the application. Some of them gave up flicking through the application and retorted to using the arrow buttons in the application. But three participants tried flicking the other way, from left to right on top of the mouse. This gesture scrolls through the pictures in the application. Even those participants were also not satisfied because the scrolling is continuous and they expected to scroll through one picture. As most of the subjects were users of smartphones with touch screen, this behavior can be mapped to the experience in that environment, where every flick (from right to left) corresponds to change in one picture. The participants who did not try flicking in the other direction, but only tried flicking from right-to-left responded that it is “more natural” and “intuitive” to flick from right to left.
The disappearing start button
Several users had trouble with clicking on the start button. We did tell them it was in the left corner but when they get there the always missed clicking it. Why?
Moving the cursor to the corner brings up the start button but the tendency of the users was to bring the cursor back on to the start button. They did this though it was not necessary. Clicking in the corner would have taken them to the start screen but they always brought it a little into the screen and the start button disappeared!
This is something that is not related to the mouse but could be critical for the touch input. A participant using paint “pinched to zoom” on the menu options to select the paint brush. Imagine how easy it would be to use all those 6 million apps(there you go iPhone, iPad) Windows is compatible with if the menu options can be magnified whenever necessary.
Numbers don’t lie
Ok, We know that your grades can never tell how smart you are…right ? But the numbers here tell us how much users liked Windows 8 and the Touch Mouse…
These are charts straight from Google docs (Sorry Microsoft, We are using Windows Live Writer to write this blog post, if the makes you happy! ).
We have 24 respondents and we are presenting the raw data here. We will write another blog post to give a neat statistical analysis.