Making mouse clicking easier

April 11, 2011

The Pointing Magnifier (credit: University of Washington)

A University of Washington team has invented two mouse cursors designed for people with disabilities that make clicking targets much easier: the Pointing Magnifier and the Angle Mouse.

The Pointing Magnifier combines an area cursor with visual and motor magnification, reducing need for fine, precise pointing. The magnifier replaces a conventional cursor with a large circular cursor that can be made even larger for users who have less motor control.

To acquire a target, the user places the large cursor somewhere over the target, and clicks. The Pointing Magnifier then magnifies everything under that circular area until it fills the screen, making even tiny targets large. The user then clicks with a point cursor inside that magnified area, acquiring the target.

The user can adjust color, transparency level, magnification factor, and area cursor size. Keyboard shortcuts quickly enable or disable the Pointing Magnifier.

With the Angle Mouse, when the cursor nears its target and the user tries to land, the angles formed by movements diverge sharply, slowing the cursor and enlarging motor space to make the target easier to get into.

The Pointing Magnifier and Angle Mouse are available for Windows-based computer systems.