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Going Commando - Put Down The Mouse



The best keyboard shortcut by far.


dontclick.it is possibly one of the best looking yet worse UI I’ve come across.

  1. It’s fully flash.
  2. Error rate of opening up unwanted links is extremely high.
  3. Most of the links are forced in the content to fill up space.
  4. Internal content conforms to “mystery meat” style of navigation. Your mouse opens something without you planning to. Outside of the navi-bars, you have no idea what it is you’re opening or why. It’s opening just because.
  5. Works best as a standalone/demo and not as a UI.
  6. Works best for maybe a Cola type product demo, delivered on CD-Rom.

As a designer, my opinion is that’s not experimenting. That’s taking well known usability no-nos and trying to work it into something it can never be.

Consider also that the site is fully vector with mostly basic shapes which makes the animation a joy to behold. However, in a real world scenario, with media and images added, that smoothness and snappy interface animation will suffer pretty badly even when viewed using broadband.

It ends up being gimmicky at best. A nice looking gimmick…and knowing the brain-dead way that the design advertising world operates (most big ad agencies wouldn’t know UI from fish), it will probably win some kind of award for “most innovative UI”. UI is expressed in millimeters and not broad sweeping kilometer-length strokes.


The Firefox users in this blog don’t seem familiar with the features of the app.

Enable Caret Browsing; an accessibility feature.

Parse the web page like an editable document using cursor keys. Similar to Opera’s spatial navigation.


Quick note: You can also use Shift+Enter (.net) and Control+Shift+Enter (.org) in addition to Ctrl+Enter. Oh, and Ctrl+L is my preferred way to get to the location bar because of its similarity to Ctrl+K for the search bar. :slight_smile: Alt+D just seems out of place, but I guess whatever works.


The Colemak keyboard layout ( http://colemak.com/ ) is slightly more efficient than Dvorak, and much easier for QWERTY-users to learn. And it puts ZXCV in the right place.

By the way, the anti-jam features of QWERTY aren’t all about slowing the typist down—the other technique was to separate common digraphs so that the first hammer could get out of the way of the second quicker.

It’s interesting that the main thing people here are mentioning about Vista is the search field in the Start menu, and no-one’s yet mentioned that in Mac OS you can do the same thing by pressing Cmd+Space. (Except it appears in the opposite corner of the screen, as a certain snarky YouTube video reminds us.) And by the way you can press Cmd with a thumb without taking your fingers out of the typing position.

I think I’d like dontclick.it if it was presented as art, rather than as a practical experiment.

A few remarks on Vim:

Remap Caps Lock to CTRL. ^[ is Esc, ^H is Backspace, but easier to reach (not just in Vim, but also in bash and Cocoa (although in the latter it’s occasionally overridden by website access keys—ugh!)), and in insert mode ^P can save typing when you’re using long identifiers. A few other control-keys also come in handy, but I find ^[, ^H and ^P are the most important ones in insert mode. And in normal mode ^F and ^B scroll by a screenful.

The modes are easier to deal with if you get into the habit of hitting Esc (or ^[ ) whenever you stop typing. Then whenever you don’t remember what mode you’re in, assume it’s normal mode. (If you forgot to press ^[, you’ll insert some garbage which you can get rid of with ^H—much less problematic than the opposite mistake.) And don’t always use ‘i’. Learn IaAoOcCsS as well. And maybe gi and gI. I’ve even had occasion to use ‘r’.

Don’t rely on hjkl to get around. (Colemak is good here, as it puts them out of the way. Ignore what the Colemak FAQ says about Vim.) For long movements, cursor keys (including hjkl) are slower than the mouse, even if you don’t notice. Learn to use fFtT; for horizontal movement (I even find comma useful, although I gather that’s unusual), and /?nN{} for vertical movement. Learn *#%() too. I find ‘hlsearch’ handy during a search, but it’s distracting when I’m done searching, so I’ve :nmapped \ to :nohlsearchCR.

I’d say learn to use marks, but they require too much thinking ahead.


I agree, and here’s a little anecdote supporting it.

I once worked on a big-arsed mainframe, and we wanted to find all users running scripted workflows. Have you used mainframe terminals? You know, green screens TAB keys. NO GUI!!

Well this bloke’s name came up as pumping through a huge number of transactions. We assumed it must mean he’s running a script. And you know where this is heading don’t you. He had a big pile of paper, and a good old fashioned keyboard.

No mouse clicks in sight.


I believe the Apple study to be extremely dated; it was written in 1989 and even references the Lisa. At the time, keyboard shortcuts were different than today such as the WordPerfect shortcuts that were indeed quite complex and challenging to remember unless you used it all the time.

With the advent of the menu (which was still not universal in 1989), keyboard shortcuts also have visual feedback when used for menu items which helps reinforce the keyboard usage. There are certainly applications that are more efficient through the keyboard, some through the mouse, and some through both.

Saying the mouse is faster than the keyboard is somewhat akin to saying the average age in a country is 40 and then assuming there are no deviations and therefore everyone is 40. There are far too many variables to make that broad of a statement.


You can use vi keybinding on firefox. No more mousing around. :slight_smile: Download vimoperator at http://www.vimoperator.mozdev.org. Current version supports only firefox 2.


It really is faster to use the keyboard shortcuts. It does feel nice to move the pointer around the page sometimes, especially after typing for a long time. http://www.whatisgoingonblog.com


In Firefox, there is a useful shortcut that helps browsing without the mouse: ’ (single-quote).
When you press the single-quote key, Firefox lets you incremental search for some text in the links only.
It is similar to find-as-you-search using the / (forward-slash) character, but only finds matches in links.


Vimperator’s been out for Firefox 3 for quite a while now, you should give it a shot.




As an avid mouse hater, this is a bit of a duh moment.

If you’re going to put down the mouse, you might as well make it easier on yourself and switch to a window manager that is keyboard-friendly. For our Mac friends this might be impossible, for windows users it’s hard but not un-heard of (when I was stuck on a windows box I replaced the shell with blackbox), and for linux users its stupidly simple.

My favorite so far is xmonad, there are others such as stumpwm and ratpoison.

The benefits are incredible. No more sorting through windows trying to find where you put something. You know you opened that window and it should be immediately infront of you when you need it. All information in all visible windows are – VISIBLE! Beautiful, full-screened, and no fussy animations, borders, or decorations.

Be warned though, some tiling window managers are terrible at dealing with modal windows (ie: pop-up dialogs).

In combination with a good text editor (emacs, vim, take your pick) and FF + vimperator (or emacs keybindings if you’re so inclined) and you’ll never have to touch the mouse ever again.

Become a touch typist and have a multi-head set up and you’ll be whizzing. I’ve had moments where the interface to the computer melted away and I was manipulating systems and coding at the speed of thought. The mechanics should be removed as much as possible – this is afterall, an intellectual job and not a manual one.

Looking forward to a mouseless world.


Another vote for the Firefox addon Vimperator here. I can go flying through websites faster than people can understand what’s going on, as it’s designed to be very vim-like.


Programmers could also learn touch-typing, but this wouldn’t help them get their job done any faster.

While I agree that sheer speed of code entry isn’t the mark of a good engineer, don’t think that the reverse is true: that a good engineer can’t be improved by learning to enter code faster. I took touch typing in high school because none of the other classes offered at the same time were interesting, and it turned out to have the greatest impact on my software career.

Sure, I had gotten to the point of two-finger-per-hand-hunt-and-peck-without-looking by that time (and had to unlearn it), but I still hit the wrong keys often and had to stop and reorient myself sometimes. But with touch typing my speed increased greatly, and my ability to put thought to screen shot up.

That doesn’t increase the value of what I put on the screen, as you said, but it means I have that much more time to evaluate what I’ve done and make it better. You’ll also be more likely to write clear comments that you’ll find useful when you can type prose faster.


Jeremy Miller calls this the first step to coding faster.

Who gives a rats about coding faster? - I play Sonic the Hedgehog fast, I don’t try breaking the record books when producing code, even less so when producing good code.


I have gone a step further, every program that I use are choosen because of how easy their are to use with keyboard, vim for file editing, opera for browsing, ratpoison for window managing, and so on… and specially with linux it is quit easy to manage the file with the shell. sad that windows make use of the keyboard so hard.


I have gone a step further, every program that I use are choosen because of how easy their are to use with keyboard, vim for file editing, opera for browsing, ratpoison for window managing, and so on… and specially with linux it is quit easy to manage the file with the shell. sad that windows make use of the keyboard so hard.


Actually, when you’re using Firefox there is a way to go mouseless. First enable the search as you type feature. Then install the Conkeror addon for firefox. Now you’re all ready to go.


">> In Windows Explorer, there is no keyboard shortcut for New Folder

Alt+F, W, F? Or use the right-click equivalent menu (ctrl+f10) key.

Not sure what you slaved ctrl-f10 with, but on a default layout it’s equivalent to an alt press. Unless that’s what you meant."

Right-click equivalent is Shift+F10, not Ctrl+F10