If you just look at the pictures, can you guess what these squares are?
Joystick, cross key, or PPT remote pen?
These black squares-to be precise, this whole set of black squares is actually a new set of mice recently released by Microsoft.
Yes, compared with the classic IE 3.0, this set of black squares can be said to have nothing to do with the traditional mouse shape.
The combination of big buttons and big joysticks looks more like an airplane's cockpit, rather than the familiar little mouse in the palm of your hand.
The reason why it looks different in style is because this is an adaptive mouse component designed by Microsoft for people with disabilities, which reduces the barriers for people to use the keyboard and mouse to operate.
I believe that before this mouse, you have seen the word "Adaptive (Adaptive) design" in many places. You may be curious, what is the so-called adaptive design?
Adaptive is not "perfect"
Kat Holmes, the former design director of the Windows system, mentioned in his book "Mismatch" that "adaptation" is actually the interaction between the user and the product.
In our life, most products are designed to fit the user.
For example, when you are holding a mobile phone, the power button is just where your fingers are most easily reached; the elevator button should be at the waist where everyone can easily press it; the more important the information, the larger the font…
Under normal circumstances, users will dynamically adjust to the product within their capabilities, but when the user's capabilities are insufficient to interact with the product, a "mismatch" occurs.
This happens in our lives from time to time, just like the presbyopic elders can't read too small fonts, and the short children can't press the buttons on the top floor of the elevator.
At this time, the product needs to be reversed to adapt to users with different abilities.
Therefore, adaptive design essentially eliminates the mismatch that occurs when people interact with products.
It sounds like the definition of adaptive design is not complicated, but when you apply it to actual product design, you will find that everything is not as simple as you think.
Taking the basic moving cursor operation as an example, using the traditional mouse operation is not friendly to some people with disabilities.
Whether it is a grasping posture that requires a certain amount of hand strength, or a small range of movement that requires a certain degree of precision, it will constitute a barrier to use for people with disabilities.
Clearing these obstacles is no easy task, as "obstacle" itself is only a general term.
Since there are huge differences between individuals, the "mismatches" that each person encounters may be different.
For example, some users may not be able to grasp the mouse, others may not be able to press buttons, and still others may not be able to accurately position the cursor due to twitching.
Finding a "greatest common divisor" among so many problems is a huge, if not impossible, challenge for any designer.
Even when a designer finds such a universal "answer", it will inevitably miss a small number of people's problems.
So don't think of adaptive design as synonymous with perfect design, it's just a guideline for driving design to keep getting better.
At this point, let's go back to Microsoft's adaptive mouse component, and you should be able to better understand the design.
The seemingly various mouse components can be mainly divided into mice, buttons and hubs (Hub). Let's start with the more familiar mouse accessories.
Like a traditional mouse, the adaptive mouse accessory also has left and right buttons and a scroll wheel in the middle, and is used in almost the same way as a traditional mouse—move, aim, and click.
The difference is that its body is smaller than normal, and it can be moved and manipulated with only two fingers.
Its special feature lies in its rich expansibility. If the user needs a palm rest similar to a traditional mouse, the mouse body can be connected to different parts at the back to adapt to different grips such as grasping, lying, left-handed, right-handed, etc. posture.
These parts can be obtained by 3D printing service provider Shapeways, and users can also customize the palm rest shape of their own palm size on it to find the most suitable posture for themselves.
Microsoft said that through 3D printing, users can obtain customized accessories in a more convenient way.
If these parts are to be officially opened and sold, the disabled will have to bear the expensive production costs, making it difficult for some parts to be popularized, which is obviously contrary to the concept of "removing obstacles".
For users who have difficulty holding or clicking a mouse, Microsoft also offers another set of operating solutions consisting of buttons and hubs.
The logic of its use is not complicated. The hub is first connected to devices such as computers, and then connected to up to 4 buttons.
In this way, the user can control the cursor of the computer through the buttons.
Like the mouse accessories, the buttons are also highly expandable. By replacing the joystick, cross keys or double buttons on the button head, functions such as moving the cursor or clicking can be realized.
Users can also 3D print more accessories, such as replacing the cylindrical rocker with an elliptical ring rocker with a larger force area, which is more convenient to operate.
In addition, each button also supports custom editing shortcuts. Users can press different keys to achieve common operations such as copying, pasting, and opening applications, which is convenient for users to replace relatively complex shortcut keys and improve the efficiency of daily operations.
If these buttons introduced by Microsoft can not meet the operating needs of some users, the hub still has a 3.5mm interface to connect more third-party accessories, which is convenient for users to expand on this basis.
If you remember Microsoft's Adaptive Xbox controller accessory released in 2018, you'll see that the two work similarly.
Understand the "complex", everything will become simple
In terms of shape, the adaptive Xbox handle kit does not look like a handle, but more like an arcade operation panel, with a cross button and two huge A and B buttons on the boxy tablet.
Although it looks rather peculiar in shape, this design is actually designed to allow players to press buttons including elbows, feet, and head to achieve operational input.
The big buttons are not the whole of the adaptive Xbox handle. There are 19 3.5mm ports on the top of the tablet. Each port corresponds to an operation including ABXY, up, down, left, right, and RBRT. The most suitable handle scheme for you.
Youtuber Bradley posted a video on his account All Access Life showing how he uses the Adaptive Xbox Controller Kit to play games.
Bradley was born with spastic quadriplegia and spends most of his life in a wheelchair.
His life assistant Daniel O'Connor installed 4 buttons on the head of the wheelchair for him, corresponding to the up, down, left and right of the control handle, while the attack and jump buttons were installed on both sides of the wheelchair, so that Bradley could use his head and You can control the character by hitting the button with your arm.
Since then, gaming has become an important part of the All Access Life channel update. Bradley has played popular games like Rocket League and COD by adjusting different buttons. To some extent, the adaptive Xbox controller kit liberates Bradley The soul trapped in the body.
In 2019, Time magazine named the adaptive Xbox controller one of the "10 most influential tech products of the decade."
"Time" magazine said that this handle specially designed for players with limited mobility really pays attention to the player experience that has been neglected by the game industry for a long time. one.
The design success of the Adaptive Xbox controller lies in its highly customizable extensibility, which is happily carried over to the new Adaptive Mouse Kit.
As said before, adaptive design is not a perfect answer that fits everyone, it should be based on the actual situation that everyone encounters, empowering everyone to remove obstacles, which is different from every human being All individuals are closely related.
According to the World Health Organization's 2020 data, more than 1 billion people worldwide have some form of disability, accounting for 15% of the world's population.
With the increase of age, the 6.4 billion people who are temporarily healthy will also lose part of their physical abilities with disease and aging. That is to say, in the long life course, everyone will encounter "mismatch" with physical abilities. design.
When a solution is designed only for those with specific abilities, it naturally becomes a hindrance for another segment of the population.
To change the rules of the game, designers need to consider adaptive or inclusive design as early as possible before designing products, which can not only improve the efficiency of product development, but also reduce development costs.
This means that manufacturers invest a lot of time and manpower in product research before product development, but from another perspective, if designers with the ability to change the world cannot break this cycle, how can we expect the world in the future Will it become friendlier?
This is a work that requires perseverance. Only when people understand the potential complexity of today's design can tomorrow's design become simpler. "Simple" and "complex" should complement each other.
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