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What is the right mouse for me?

Which mouse is best for you?
The most commonly used accessory when working with a computer or laptop is still the mouse. Because the choice of a mouse can vary from person to person, we will gladly take you with what you should pay attention to when choosing a suitable mouse. Working with the computer consists of tapping, clicking or watching. As a rule, most of the time goes to the click, or the mouse use. During our computer time, we use more than 53 percent use of a mouse (IJmker et al., 2011). That is considerably more than the time spent working with the keyboard. Choosing a good mouse is therefore very important.

Advantages ergonomic mouse
  • Reduce the physical strain.
  • More comfort;
  • Better performances.
Due to the frequent use, a good mouse is essential to be able to work healthily and comfortably with a computer or laptop. There are many different types of mice on the market, most of which (non-standard) mice are also ergonomically sound. From vertical, precision and central mice to a pen tablet. How do you choose the right mouse from all these types?
Why is an ergonomic mouse so important?
Prolonged use of the mouse can lead to pain and discomfort in the shoulders, forearms and hands (Chang et al., 2007; Andersen et al., 2008). An ergonomic mouse can partially counteract these effects and leads to more comfort.

Hand, wrist and forearm load
A standard mouse causes an unfavorable hand, wrist and forearm posture. This is because the body is burdened in three ways by using a standard mouse:
  • Pronation: Turning the wrist in from the forearm
  • Wrist extension: Stretching the wrist
  • Ulnar and radial deviation: Bend sideways from the wrist

In the forearm one speaks of pronation when the palm is turned inwards from the neutral starting position. During this movement, the bones and attached muscles in the forearm cross each other, as shown in the picture. This often leads to a higher muscle tension. And it gives more room in the wrist joint.

Wrist extension
The wrist is bent backwards due to the normal height of the mouse, this is also called wrist extension. In addition, the user has to lift the finger to click, which further increases the load in the entire wrist area.

Ulnar and radial deviation
The most commonly used posture when using a standard mouse is the so-called ulnar deviation. This means that the hand is bent towards the little finger side, as illustrated below. In fact, in the lateral bend in the direction of the thumb side, the radial deviation, people have very limited flexibility. Due to this position, the wrist is little in the neutral position during the use of a normal mouse and this eventually causes overloading.
Different types of ergonomic mice
There are several ergonomic mice that increase the comfort of mouse use. In addition, all of the species below lower the pronation, wrist extension and ulnar deviation to a greater or lesser extent. We explain three types of ergonomic mice.

1. Central mice

  • Less muscle strain in the shoulder;
  • The muscle activity in the forearms is less;
  • The advantage of centrally positioned mice is that they lie directly in front of the user, namely between the user and the keyboard. This ensures less muscle tension in the shoulder compared to a standard mouse that is located next to the keyboard. With a central mouse, this central position does not require the shoulder to be turned outwards (Lin et al. 2014).
Muscle activity in the forearms is also less compared to a normal mouse (Lin et al., 2014). There are two reasons for this:
  • First of all, with a standard mouse, the wrist is bent back more, so there is talk of wrist extension.
  • In addition, the fingers are largely stretched and the user must click from this position. A central mouse does not force these postures, which leads to less muscle strain.

2. Precision mice
Precision mice are grasped with the fingertips. As a result, the fingers in these mice are often more bent and the wrist is less bent backwards, as the image below shows. These precision mice therefore have roughly the same advantages as the central mice.

  • Less muscle strain in the shoulder (Kotani & Horii, 2003; Ulmann et al., 2003).
  • Natural posture wrist for more comfort and less pronation when using a precision mouse. This does not apply if you use a penclic mouse.
3. Vertical mice
With vertical mice, the mouse is grasped in a "hand shake" position, as seen in the image. Because of this position the wrist bends less to the side and the forearm has to turn less inwards.

  • With the use of a vertical mouse, there is less ulnar deviation and pronation (Schmid et al., 2015). As a result, the muscle activity in the forearm is lower than with a standard mouse (Quemelo & Vieira, 2013)
Deployment: Research shows that the use of a vertical joystick mouse ensures a faster recovery of the forearm, wrist and hand complaints (Aarås et al., 2001). However, it is unknown whether all vertical mice have the same effect
Positioning of the mouse
It is not only the shape and control of the mouse that influences body posture, the position of the mouse on the desk is also important. Due to the numerical part, traditional full-size keyboards are very wide, while a large part of the computer users (almost) do not use this numeric part. Due to the width of the keyboard, the mouse is not directly in front of the user's shoulder and the working posture is not optimal. Compact keyboards, without a numerical part, actually reduce the reach distance to the mouse, reducing the strain on the shoulder and forearm. The use of a compact keyboard therefore also helps in achieving a good posture.
Alternative for mouse use
Using the mouse is not always the most effective way to perform computer tasks. For example, tasks are performed on average 30% faster with the help of shortcuts (Lane et al., 2005 / Tak, 2007). In addition, there are indications that the use of shortcuts can improve working comfort and that users can go home fitter if they use more shortcuts (Blok et al., 2008). Hot keys are therefore a good solution for structurally reducing mouse use and, moreover, working faster and more efficiently.
Research shows that the average computer user uses the mouse behind the computer about half the time. When the use of the mouse is halved, the user can already save 20 minutes a day. However, mouse use will always be necessary, because many modern applications only have limited or even no shortcut options.

Performance effects
Research shows that a separate mouse when used with a laptop leads to a clear improvement in performance (Sommerich et al., 2002). Replacing a standard mouse with an ergonomic variant, then increases comfort considerably. At the same time, however, it reduces the speed. Because although you often work healthier with an ergonomic mouse, this happens (slightly) less quickly than with a standard mouse.

Scott Mackenzie of York University in Canada convincingly demonstrated the lower speed of ergonomic mice. He had test subjects perform the same type of mouse task a large number of times. The test subjects became faster and faster with the touchpad and the joystick mouse. But as the graph shows, the speed was highest for the regular mouse, followed by touchpad and joystick (MacKenzie et al., 2001).

Performance effects ergonomic mice

Central mice
In line with the aforementioned Mackenzie study, several studies found that a touchpad is clearly slower than a standard mouse. Depending on the task performed, the time required for the touchpad was at least 25% lower (Hertzum & Hornbaek, 2010; Lee & Su, 2008). This is because you cannot reach the target in one move with a touch pad. This also applies to the central mice.

Precision mice
Pen tablets are slower to perform mouse tasks than standard mice (Müller et al., 2010). However, for tasks with great precision, such as photo editing, a pen mouse is actually faster than a standard mouse (Chen et al., 2011). Learning a pen and tablet is fast, so that after a day of practice the performance is equal to a standard mouse (Kotani & Horii, 2003). It should be noted that the task in the investigation only required mouse actions. This is of course not in line with daily computer use where keyboard and mouse actions are always alternated. Picking up a pen requires more time than grabbing a mouse.

Vertical mice
The handshake mouse, or: a vertical mouse is 10 to 19% slower than the regular mouse (Quemelo & Ramos Vieira, 2013; Scarlett et al., 2005). The vertical mouse is considerably faster than a joystick mouse (Scarlett et al., 2005).
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