Microsoft designer for the Platform Components, Creation and Collaboration team, Mike LaManna has invented a prototype mouse that suits to help special needs children to keeps their pointing fingers on the left click of the mouse.
The newly design mouse engaged with a ring near the back of the button of a small laptop size mouse helps children greater access to use computer technology.
Nowadays, there is no mouse design for children especially for special needs youngsters. “I really thought it was going to be a quick Internet search and that was it. I would find something and purchase it,” explained LaManna. He says that there are indeed few mouse designed for people with disabilities but he emphasize that there's no such mouse designed specifically for young age and children with disabilities.
While LaManna was working to build the concepts of the mouse prototypes he got help from Annuska Perkins, a senior accessibility strategist in Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing unit and former Microsoft employee Hugh McLoone, a user experience expert. “Straight-forward solution shows promise in solving the specific issue we targeted. It was exciting to see kids in the study using a computer for the first time and the mouse attachment working,” Perkins said.
“It’s a little more arts and craft than it is high-tech design,” LaManna says. “Sometimes I get a little red in the face, working somewhere where designs go out buttoned up and pixel perfect, and I am walking around with a glue gun and a bag of party rings.”
The Microsoft employees used a mouse-tracking software tool to test how the prototypes worked for the children and after being being carefully investigated how to help young age children with a special needs, LaManna and his colleagues found that the most effective design involved a plastic ring fastened near the back of the button on a small, laptop-sized mouse.
“Somehow, if more people could know about this, people could use and build on the idea,” LaManna said.