Test Your Mousing Efficiency!
This is how to scientifically determine which input device is more efficient, when the usage is intensive and demand for accuracy and speed is extreme. Is it mouse, trackball, trackpad, pen tablet, joystick?
the pen tablet in this video is actually sold just for this game! For example, this:
They are just cheap generic pen tablets. But people apparently do buy it because of osu. It seems, osu is hugely popular in Asia. 8 million registered users, 500k active users.
Touch screen obviously wins here.
Touch screen doesn't require training, and anyone is proficient. (because, we use fingers to touch and point all our life sans computer.)
The precision is also better with touch screen, because it's direct. With mouse, trackball, pen tablet, or touch pad, the relation of device movement and cursor on display is indirect.
But, touch screen have fat-finger problem.
But also note, for prolonged use, touch screen have problems. Imagine if this game is to be played for 2 hours straight. Your finger rubbing will become uncomfortable or even painful. If required to do everyday, 8 hours a day, as in industrial workers in a factory, then, touch screen quickly becomes a health hazard.
also, if the screen is vertical, you get gorilla arm problem. (your arm gets tired after 10 minutes.)
touchpad has less of a problem for prolonged use than touch screen. Because, instead of rubbing on glass, you rub on plastic, which is slightly more tolerable.
touchpad also suffers from fat finger problem.
another thing i noticed about touchpads is that, they seem to have delay or uncertainty problem. That is, sometimes you tab on it, but isn't sure if it actually happened. You try again. With a mouse button or keyboard key, you never have this problem. Also, sometimes you glide your finger across touchpad, but there's delay, resulting you rub and rub to see what's going on.
I'm not sure what exactly is the issue, but i think the problem is with the technical issue of touchpad, namely, by electrical capacitance. With mouse or trackpad, signal are generated by optical or laser sensors, and it's reliable and instantaneous. But with touchpad, it's kinda wishy-washy. But the touchpad problem does not seem to happen with touch screen on tablet computers such as iPad.
The guy is a very skilled trackball user.
but, i think trackball is a loser here. Trackball excels in comfort and ease of operation. You can use it for hours daily for operating a computer without problem, whereas mouse will give you Repetitive Strain Injury. That's why there's many Ergonomic / Vertical Mouse and Contour Roller Mouse.
but, trackball is inferior to mouse when you need bursts of split-second movements with precision. Because, with mouse, it's like using a stone to draw things on sand. We are familiar with that. With trackball, you roll the ball to create a path, and that's not intuitive.
Controller / Joystick
you can see that a joystick fairs the worst here.
because, joystick does not have direct control of movement speed. With mouse, trackpad, trackball, you have direct control of speed. You can whip to any place you want as fast as you move the device. But with joystick, you can only control acceleration. The more bent is the joystick, the more acceleration you have, therefore speed, but no direct control of speed. The result is awkward movement and bad precision.
on the other hand, joystick excels when you need smooth and continuous transition of speed. Such as, controlling the roll pitch yaw when flying a plane. There, you don't want sudden jerky change.
osu with mouse
In terms of precision and intensive usage for 30 minutes or so (such as playing osu), the best to worst are:
- pen drawing display
- touch screen tablet
- pen tablet
- joystick (such as Gamepads for PC )
Note, this ranking doesn't consider prolonged use or comfort.
Now, there are many aspects to consider for input devices.
- How long do you need to do a task. 5 minutes, 1 hours, hours daily.
- How intensive is it to be used. Osu, First person shooter gaming, adventure gaming, or browsing the web, read emails.
- What kind of movement required. Absolute precision, such as first person shooter games and artist drawing (photoshop), smooth transition such as navigating google earth or map or 360 panorama viewing, or 3D modeling or controlling a plane as a flight stick, or general operating a computer such as move to a window, click, drag to move desktop items.
- Comfort and ergonomics.
For example, the pros and cons:
- Touch screen is great, but not for prolonged use. Rubbing finger problem, fat finger problem, gorilla arms problem
- Pen tablet is great, but not for general use for computer because you have to pick up the pen all the time.
- Mouse is all-around ok for generic tasks, but trackball is more comfortable, but trackball is terribly bad if you need continued precision as artist drawing, whereas mouse is better.
- joystick is most suitable when smooth transition of speed is required, such as controlling air plane flight. Or, simple directional control, such as playing pacman, Mario Brothers, Tetris, arcade games.
Now, this special task of spin. Here, the ranking of devices would be:
- pen tablet
Also notice, they all use keyboard as mouse click. That means, when usage is intensive, keyboard key is far better than mouse click, in efficiency and comfort.
while writing this article, i came across this great article:
〔i-Touch Systems that I Have Known and Loved By Bill Buxton, Microsoft Research. At http://www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html〕
Bill Buxton is a researcher in human-computer interaction field, in particular, i see he's done lots study on input devices.
see for example, his collection of input devices, few hundreds of them: