Does Anyone Even Use a Mouse Pad Anymore?

Does Anyone Even Use a Mouse Pad Anymore?

Gregory Han
May 18, 2010

We've been thinking a bit about red, white and blue. We're not prematurely looking ahead to the 4th of July, but instead referring to red and blue lasers on a shiny white surface...that surface being our IKEA desk. You see, we're finally ditching our Wacom tablet and mouse to save on room, but that has resulted in an annoying issue with our Apple Magic Mouse not playing nice with the shiny white desk. The Magic Mouse uses an updated laser tracking, but like older red laser models, it still hiccups on shiny surfaces. Thus, we've gone back to the future and revived the use hold your breath...a mouse pad.

Last week we sat down with a tandem team of Microsoft designers, Chris Kujawski (User Experience) and Lindsey Kujawskii (Industrial Designer), and while discussing their design philosophy and process, they mentioned the antiquated use of mouse pads. I chuckled at the mention, as I haven't used one myself in years. But now I find myself dusting off a 99 cents IKEA mousepad after a few days of using a book as a temporary surface. The thin book worked fine (an Eames book, no less!), but after awhile, the raised surface began to bother my wrists and I decided I needed to set aside my pride and get back to a mousing surface.

Both Chris and Lindsey noted newer mouse technology, like that found in the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 models, use blue lasers (MS calls their version BlueTrack technology) and are able to go where other mice fear to tread. We're not yet ready to ditch our Bluetooth, dongle-free Apple mouse yet, but we do think everyone needs to follow suit with Microsoft and start using blue lasers too.

The 99 cents IKEA special is no frills, right down to the lightweight construction and all-white surface (a surefire magnet for stains eventually). What we want to do is spiffy up our mousing surface with some custom fabric, similarly as shown over at crafting site, The Long Thread (photo above). We've been perusing our V&A Pattern books, specifically the Kimono edition, and we're hoping we find something like the Green Waves pattern by Moriguchi Kunihiko, to grace our pad (yes, we know about printing out a mouse pad using software/inkjets, but the muted/blurry colours sort of leave us unimpressed like every home fabric printer solution). No, for now, we'll settle for the all white budget special and keep an eye out for a fabric that we think will look and feel least until the day we move to a non-shiny all white desk.

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