A few weeks ago I bought a fancy new mouse to replace my fancy old mouse. Sure it’s nice and comfy, but how much do I actually use it? When you pay close to a hundred euro for something you want to make sure it’s doing its job.
Yesterday I tried.
For the whole day, when the freelancing clock was running, so was IOGraph – a handy tool for recording mouse movements.
The image above shows paths my mouse has taken through the day, dots show where the mouse has been standing still for a while – the bigger the dot, the longer the time – and I am honestly not certain what the circles around small black dots are. Clicks perhaps?
Other than the fact I use my mouse more than I thought, three patterns emerge.
- There is a blank space roughly down the middle where I never place my mouse – the dividing line between two monitors. You can see the left is wider than the right.
- Despite being used a lot, the mouse spends most of its time standing still. Most of the image is taken up by relatively few very large black dots. The largest two are right where I had two terminal windows that I often switched between (one running a server instance, the other used for git). The rest are mostly on the far right where I have my browser. Apparently I like to click around, then leave the mouse there when I go back to coding? Or maybe page loads are slow?
- Emacs takes up the left half of the screen. I sometimes put my mouse here, but rarely for long because the cursor gets in the way.
You can also notice I spend a lot of time switching the last few tabs in Chrome, possibly opening and closing them as I browse the interwebs for help with Ruby? That’s all the lines going to the upper right corner.
Here’s a screenshot of the desktop as I left it last night. Most of the tabs already closed because I have to save memory, but you can still see the rough layout of the windows I worked with. Had I some photoshop skill I’d overlay IOgraph output over the screenshot.
Now I wonder if mouse patterns are different for other languages and technology stacks … I have experimenting to do!