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View Full Version : Politically correct right clicking


asboy
03-18-2005, 08:22 AM
Okay, this will probably sound silly, but... as a Mac user and a lefty, I find the term "right-click" to be doubly annoying. Anyway, I'm currently making a web site with some movies and I'd like to tell my users that they can download the movies, if they so desire, by .... Well, that's the question. Is there a way to clearly state the concept of "click with the opposite button from the one you normally use or else control-click if you are on a Mac and have only one button" without taking an entire paragraph? I know that everyone will know what I mean if I say "right-click" but I'm having trouble bringing myself to do such a thing.

Perhaps there's a technological solution to avoid the whole issue entirely: is there some way I can create a special link that will cause the user's browser to download the file rather than play it?

yellow
03-18-2005, 08:32 AM
I know that everyone will know what I mean if I say "right-click" but I'm having trouble bringing myself to do such a thing.

I'm sorry, but I don't get why.. When a mouse has 2 buttons, there is one button on the left side of the mouse and one on the right side of the mouse. Telling people to right-click clearly indicates the button on the right side of the mouse. Even if you are a lefty, you don't refer to the traditional right button as the 'left button', and the traditional left button as the 'far left button', do you? Personally I think you should leave it as right-click.

chabig
03-18-2005, 08:54 AM
I think most users are past the point at which they need to be explicitly told how to download files. Just present the link without instructions.

staypuft
03-18-2005, 08:56 AM
Even if you are a lefty, you don't refer to the traditional right button as the 'left button', and the traditional left button as the 'far left button', do you?But as a lefty he may very well have the buttons switched, so that he can use his index finger to press the "left button" that is actually the button on the right. Perhaps the "main" button and "secondary" button would make sense, since the "left" button is the one used the most.

Craig R. Arko
03-18-2005, 09:46 AM
I suppose 'contextual menu button' is most accurate, since it can include the Ctrl-click method used with the one button mouse, and the special key used on Windows keyboards.

However, saying 'contextual menu button' to most people will probably be met by a blank stare. ;)

voldenuit
03-18-2005, 09:49 AM
I'd completely second yellow and provide extra arguments:

Be the buttons switched by software or not, even as a lefthanded user, you will be a lot less confused to switch the instruction in your mind if necessary rather than to decode some wannabe-PoliticallyCorrect "main" and "secondary" discourse.

Like Apples Human Interface Guidelines state:
Go the way of the least surprise for the user.

If you feel a compelling need for it, you could put a statement on your site where you elaborate on the mouse-button thing to make your point, but don't clutter the user-interface.

schwartze
03-18-2005, 10:21 AM
When I am teaching an intro to computers workshop I usually explain the left mouse button as the 'action' button and the right button as the 'option' button. This works in person but when you are giving someone instructions and they are not in front of you I found it usually works best to give the most widely used wording.

I was trying on our web site to tell people how they can use tabs to open the links which spawn a new window (outside links), Control+T for Windows and Linux and Apple+T for Macs - then I realized that it was 1) getting way to wordy and 2) if the people used the feature they knew how to use it so they would know what to do without me telling them. In the end I took the whole thing off and let the people who visit decide how they want to open the links.

So, I would say stick with the 'right click to download' option. I am sure that most lefties are used to their mouse and if they were technical enough to switch what the buttons do they are also technical enough to understand which of their buttons is the one to 'right click' on.

donquichote
03-18-2005, 10:39 AM
Very nice problem. Never thought about that.

Instead of "right-click" say "turn the mouse and left-click".

:)

- donquichote

Craig R. Arko
03-18-2005, 10:42 AM
When I am teaching an intro to computers workshop I usually explain the left mouse button as the 'action' button and the right button as the 'option' button.

Apple does refer to the little button in the Finder window toolbar which brings up the Finder contextual menus as the 'Action' button. :)

acme.mail.order
03-21-2005, 01:03 AM
When I am teaching an intro to computers workshop I usually explain the left mouse button as the 'action' button and the right button as the 'option' button.
Reminds me of traffic engineers who obfusicate signals with "Stand" and "Proceed" instead of red and green.

How about "Middle-finger Button" with an appropriate icon?

chaostic_2k1
03-23-2005, 09:14 PM
Button 1 = Standard Left Click. Button 2 = standard Right click.

Problem Solved, you pc cpu hugging facist.

hayne
03-23-2005, 11:39 PM
Perhaps there's a technological solution to avoid the whole issue entirely: is there some way I can create a special link that will cause the user's browser to download the file rather than play it?
Yes - set the MIME type to something that the browser will treat as a download. Usually "application/octet-stream" will work - but Internet Explorer on Windows causes problems last time I checked since it "knows better" and looks at the file extension of the URL instead of the MIME type like it is supposed to. Check the FAQs for HTML & CGI etc for up to date recommendations.

voldenuit
05-01-2005, 04:32 PM
In Tiger, you can designate the "primary" mouse button to be either the left or the right one in the Mouse/Keyboard System Preference pane.

Lefties from all countries, switch !

schwartze
05-01-2005, 05:25 PM
Apple does refer to the little button in the Finder window toolbar which brings up the Finder contextual menus as the 'Action' button. :)
Lucky for me these workshops are for Windows users. Press the left/right mouse button doesn't seem to work, neither doesn left or right click, since the majority of the people there have never used a mouse before.

The more I work with those who have never used a computer before the more I realize that I have to look at it from their persective, not mine as one who has been using computers in one way or another for the past 20 years.

Any real world/used suggestions is always appreciated though.

Reminds me of traffic engineers who obfusicate signals with "Stand" and "Proceed" instead of red and green.

How about "Middle-finger Button" with an appropriate icon?
Lucky for those who come to the workshops I am not good enough with graphics to create one of these.

acme.mail.order
05-01-2005, 09:40 PM
Lucky for those who come to the workshops I am not good enough with graphics to create one of these.

http://harley.punt.nl/upload/mickey-finger2.jpg

Looks like Mickey is a leftie, too.