Re[2]: Re. Leftmoused button?

Subject: Re[2]: Re. Leftmoused button?
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Fri, 3 May 1996 12:23:44 -0500

In response to my question, Mike Huber helpfully responded:
<<...the terms do not accurately reflect all such devices
or configurations. Some devices... have the buttons in
configurations where the terms don't make sense, and some
people (often southpaws) reconfigure the device drivers so
the "left" mouse button is on the right.>>

Ah! Comprehension strikes, albeit belatedly. I nonetheless
wonder how important the need for a revised wording
remains. Operating-system manuals repeatedly mention the
right and left mouse buttons, as do the owner's manuals for
devices such as trackballs (e.g., "the top button acts as
the left button on a mouse"), and readers who purchase such
devices or reconfigure them should quickly learn what the
words mean in their context. I'd stick with consistent
terminology until Microsoft et al. change their manuals.

For a product, I'd address the problem this way (example,
to be modified per your context): "In [operating system],
the left mouse button selects an object and the right mouse
button provides a menu of options for that object. While
you're using [device name], the upper button serves as the
left mouse button and the lower button serves as the right
mouse button." Thereafter, I'd refer to the upper and lower
buttons in the product's manual.

For an operating system (e.g., Windows) in which I knew
that most of the audience was using a two-button mouse, I'd
stick with the left/right wording and provide information
in the "before you begin" section of the manual that
explained the significance of using something other than a
mouse or a mouse with remapped buttons. <Fe> Better still,
I'd seditiously evangelize the Mac by noting that if they'd
just purchased a Mac in the first place, this issue would
never have arisen, so there. </Fe>

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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