Pointing Magnifier and Angle Mouse – Mouse Apps For Older Computer Users

imageAn exploding aging population is a reality previous generations had little or no experience with – but not so now.

Those of us who “fit” into the aging population paradigm, are increasingly aware that motor skills may not be quite as sharp as they once were. For some, this can be quite noticeable when manipulating a computer pointing device – accuracy may be an issue.

Regular reader Michael F., has passed on his recommendations for two free Mouse applications – one of which (Angle Mouse) has been expressly designed to assist with movement accuracy. The other (Pointing Magnifier), is an assistive application which can be used selectively, to enlarge screen content.

Pointing Magnifier – from the site:

The Pointing Magnifier is a two-stage pointing technique. During the first stage the user controls an area cursor of arbitrary size depending on the pointing accuracy of the user. To interact with a target, the user places the area cursor over that target and activates it by clicking any mouse button. This causes everything under the circular cursor to be magnified, and the cursor is pinned in place.

While magnified, the user controls a standard mouse pointer inside the magnified area. Upon performing an action (e.g., clicking, dragging) in magnified space, the pointer’s location is transposed so that the interaction occurs at the correct position in unmagnified space. After the user performs an action, the Pointing Magnifier returns to its original size and the user resumes control of the area cursor.

Setup is uncomplicated, but I suggest that you consider the available options carefully. You may need to experiment to find your optimal settings.

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An awareness of the keyboard shortcuts is important, otherwise you run the risk of a frustrating experience.

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Two times magnification illustrated – I found the default (4 x magnification),  too large for my needs.

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If you, or someone you know, find reading enlarged screen content more comfortable, then this application is worth considering.

Download at: University of Washington

Angle Mouse – from the site:

The Angle Mouse is a pointing facilitation technique that runs quietly in the background and improves the efficiency and ease of mouse pointing, especially for people with motor impairments.

The Angle Mouse is a target-agnostic pointing facilitation technique that works by continually adjusting the control-display (C-D) gain based on how coherent (straight) or divergent (angular) the mouse movement is.

When the mouse moves straight, the gain is kept high, but when the mouse corrects abruptly, often near targets, the gain is dropped, making targets bigger in motor-space.

The application is highly configurable, as the following screen capture illustrates.

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Download at: University of Washington

As always Michael, I very much appreciate your contribution.

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4 Comments

Filed under Adaptive Technologies, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Older Adult Computer Users, Productivity Software, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

4 responses to “Pointing Magnifier and Angle Mouse – Mouse Apps For Older Computer Users

  1. Michael Fisher

    So you’ve adopted the magnifier or just testing ? I haven’t tried it on my comp to see if it’s of use to me. I might see if I can simplify it for my 93yo neighbour Betty’s system ~ but clicking isn’t physically or conceptually easy for her

    She’s getting on well with the angle mouse ~ I wonder if they can be used together ?

    • Hi Michael,

      I took a close look at the magnifier (no pun intended), but, since I don’t need that type of assistance I found it annoying. On the odd occasion I need to blowup a pic while on the Net, I hold the Control key and use the Mouse wheel to zoom. Works for me.

      Best,

      Bill

  2. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the great article and for covering a topic so important to many of us computer mouse users, yet overlooked by so many! 🙂

    We over at HeatedMouse also strive to help folks overcome those issues they may have using the pointing device, that being cold computer hands – which can also contribute to inaccuracy, if your hand is cold and uncomfortable, from my own experience.

    Well, thanks again for your blog and have a great day.