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What should the cursor do than just point?

Image credit: Photo by Liam Briese on Unsplash

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 21, 2020
What would you have the cursor do than just point and select?

I think the cursor is the least evolved feature of a system. Different programs have assigned different functions to the cursor, but the universal cursor does more or less the same tasks as it did 20 years ago.

The cursor can have different functions in different programs. If you have a suggestion for the cursor to do something specifically for a program/ website, mention that too.

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Creative contributions

Flash red light when you are doing something wrong

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 21, 2020
This should be customizable. When in hurry, I, sometimes, click on the cross instead of the minimize button of the window, closing it accidentally. I would like it if it turns red to warn me.

3D scroll function to change between the layers/desktops

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Juran Apr 09, 2021
We imagine parallel desktops to run side by side, but actually, they could be also pictured running one above the other. What if we had one more scroll button (or a function to push and scroll the existing one), to easily change between desktops, layers, or windows displayed?

It would be sort of a 3D scrolling function that would make a cursor go deeper or shallower into your workspace. This method of scrolling would be especially useful if you work on 3D models, have many desktops/screens opened simultaneously, etc.

Can you think of a better solution to this or an add-on?
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni4 months ago
Awesome! If nothing else, this will surely make work more interesting. We could also drag stuff from one layer to another. Since Darko Savic uses multiple screens regularly, he can tell whether the 3D design can be equivalent in function. If yes, we could lose all the extra gear required and make the table cleaner.

Add-on: The top layer can be made translucent if you want to look at both layers simultaneously (one layer being less important than the other).

Improve the controller to improve the cursor.

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Apr 22, 2021


Similar to a gaming mouse, the controller can be outfitted with more buttons, similar to the shortcuts on the keypad. There could be one for copy, cut, paste, next, previous, save, etc.

This way, users will be able to do a lot more without touching the keyboard. The cursor could be used to select and the buttons could then perform the actions. Of course, a lot of this is already possible by right-clicking and selecting the action, but designated buttons could streamline the process, allowing for faster work.

As far as I can tell, these kinds of features have only been applied to different variations of a gaming mouse, but there hasn't really been anything for working more efficiently. This tool could be especially beneficial for designers or editors.

[1]https://www.rtings.com/mouse/reviews/havit/hv-ms735

Prompt more information regarding the image it is hovering over

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 21, 2020
It would be great if the cursor could tell us more about an image (date, person who clicked it, where was it clicked, who owns it, what it is about - this is essential if it is some organism you don't know, etc.), either using a short dialogue box or providing an auditory message.

This should be on all websites and Google, too.

Anything else you want the cursor to prompt?

Prompt the number of words after a selection

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 21, 2020
When I drag and select the text, it should tell me the number of words that I have selected. Word processors usually have that feature, although not on the cursor. It would be great to have it for other programs and websites.

Temporarily block certain areas of the screen to prevent the cursor from entering or clicking

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 21, 2020
Again, the "close" sign on a window can be blocked so that you don't click on it accidentally. The areas that give you pop-ups after hovering can also be blocked.

An improved version - certain words on the webpage are blocked so you don't click on them. It can be useful to avoid accidentally clicking the "like" button on your ex's posts while stalking. :)

An improved zoom in and out function

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 23, 2020
Apart from the programs that help us create static graphic content (CorelDraw, Photoshop, etc,), the zoom in and out function is rarely attributed to the scroll wheel of the mouse.

It would be useful if the cursor works like a lens, letting the user zoom into only a certain area of the screen. Moreover, the scroll wheel can be used to modulate the zoom percentage. This is useful for viewing large databases or maps, where constantly fidgeting with the zoom function distracts you or increases the amount of time required to do the particular work (due to the cumbersome use of the zooming function).

Something like this where the magnifying lens moves along with the cursor and the zoom can be controlled.

Movement of the cursor by the eye-movement tracking

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Juran Nov 05, 2020
Imagine you don´t have to move your hands from the keyboard. You just write and move a cursor by the simple movement of your eyes.

In-display sensor follows your eye focus by scanning your face and eyes and moves a cursor in the direction where you look. The click function could be voice-guided or integrated on the keyboard.

Advantages:
  • Faster user experience
  • Both hands for writing
  • Fewer table accessories (minimalistic design)
Disadvantages/challenges:
  • Clicking (left and right click difference - voice control? keyboard control?)
  • Scrolling
  • Could be a problem if you sit far away from the screen (works better on devices with physical keyboards)
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni9 months ago
Like the idea! How about blinking for the mouse clicks? Left eye blink = left click, right blink = right click. A blink and hold for double click. It will be useful when you need only a few clicks per time. If you have more clicks to do, it may hurt your eyes. Voice control seems to be the ultimate option. You won't need to go through the entire path to open a particular folder/ file. Just say the name of the file and "open". For scrolling you could look at the scroll bar and drag it. Or click (blink) the scroll bar up and down buttons. Any better option is appreciated.

Temporarily hide content

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 21, 2020
The cursor can have a black box behind it that blocks the content on the screen. This is useful to block the answer to a quiz when the answer is provided below the question. The black box moves with the cursor. The size of the box can be changed.

Display all the additional functions mentioned in this session

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Nov 04, 2020
The cursor should display all the functions - smart zoom function, word count function, etc. There should be a bar with all these functions on it. Continuously displaying the bar on the screen can be disturbing. The bar should appear after a hotkey - probably both mouse clicks held simultaneously.
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Juran9 months ago
Wouldn't all these additional functions make the job of zooming, word counting, prompting info or flashing (etc.) more complicated than it already is?

Zooming is available on +/- commands or just a scroll of a mouse middle-button. Word counting would be terribly annoying if appearing constantly, and it is available in the left lower corner of Word just by selecting a ceratin text piece. Additionally, sometimes you want to copy/paste/highlight stuff, so it could annoy you to have double functions (keyboard shortcuts, mouse "shortcuts"). Same with info prompting or flashing functions.

I agree the mouse could have more cool features, but the cursor is beautiful because it is simple. It is just a navigating tool.

Maybe some advancement in the navigating, like cursor movement by eye movement tracking.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni9 months ago
Juran K. The functions would not be visible and tag along with the cursor continuously. Only when you press some hotkey, a toolbar will appear that will have options (of features) that you want to enable temporarily. For example, even if you have all these cursor functions, your screen will look the way it looks now. You get the word count in Microsoft Word and other text apps. However, imagine you are surfing the internet. You found a piece of information that you may want to quote and reproduce. You want to know the number of words it has. At that point, you press the hotkey for the advanced cursor functions and then the toolbar appears on your screen. You can move the bar and place it on your taskbar or any other non-distracting place. Then you select the word count function. You then select the text you want to quote and then know the word count. You do this for 10 other sites. When you are done, you press the hotkey again, and the function as well as the toolbar disappear, and give you the feel of your original desktop and cursor. Even the toolbar is not big enough to distract you (while it is ON); I imagine it would look something like the small "formatting" bar that appears in your Word document when you select some text (https://www.google.com/search?q=formatting+bar+in+ms+word&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi6iZ6-0-rsAhWGb30KHSZuAkcQ_AUoAXoECCkQAw&biw=1517&bih=730#imgrc=L6fwMirN1BcgTM).

The mouse scroll is usually used to scroll up and down webpages and documents. The zoom in and out function exists only in the graphic design apps. I thought of applying the zoom function in other apps out of need. I was working on an Excel sheet (40% zoom) and color certain cells. There were other cells I wanted to mark (15 columns apart) based on the color. I had to zoom in on one cell (6 clicks to 100% zoom), check the cell contents, and then assign a color, zoom out (6 clicks to 40% zoom), identify the corresponding cell (15 columns apart), and change color there. The color was the easiest way to identify cells that I needed to work on in the second phase of my research. The 40% zoom enabled me to scan a larger area for yellow cells with the corresponding red cell in the same row some column apart. This is when I thought of having the zoom function on the scroll. I use CorelDraw and the zoom function there (on the scroll) is user-friendly.

If you don't want these functions, you can simply shut them off. There will only appear after you press a hotkey.

P.S.: 1. I could have written a VBA code but the data came from different researchers in my group and the data type was "string".
2. Could you add the cursor movement by eye movement tracking as another suggestion for this session? It seems cool.
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Juran9 months ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni Ok, a word count function like you described would be useful, indeed.
Furthermore, in Excel, if you press CTRL+scroll UP or DOWN, you can easily zoom in or zoom out. I think that could maybe solve your multiple-clicking trouble.
But I get it why it could be useful. Plus, the toolbar which you can move could be a cool feature (or it can appear when you move the cursor to the lower right corner of the screen or something like that).

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