The UX of No Mouse (Keyboard Shortcuts)

By | January 17, 2009

This morning I turned on one of our computers, a Dell D610 laptop.  For some reason, the mouse just refused to work.  The keypad wasn’t working, and the nubbin stick in the middle didn’t work either.  I’m not sure what happened, but it’s like the devices just ceased to exist.

However, I was able to use the computer, browse the web, open files, try configurations, all just fine using the keyboard only.  It was quite amazing actually.  I am 100% dependent, most of the time with the mouse.  I didn’t think it was going to work, but it did.  Alt-tab, arrow keys and space bar were used alot, but it got the job done.

This made me think of other web applications, like Marketo.  Why not use keyboard shortcuts to enhance navigation?  Alt-D goes to the Design studio.  Alt-M goes to marketing activities.  It’s important not to overwrite common browser keyboard shortcuts and not to confuse the user with complication hand gestures, but good keyboard shortcuts are fun.  That’s right, fun!

Keyboard shortcuts are like Easter eggs of productivity.  They are like magic wand commands to the application.

If you use a JavaScript library (which you should!), definitely consider adding in keyboard shortcuts.  They are not that much work, but definitely pay off dividends.

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