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Touch Mouse


While at Microsoft Hardware, I partnered with Touch Mouse inventor Dan Rosenfeld, Industrial Designer Chris Kujawski & UX Researcher Sarah Fuelling to deliver the Microsoft Touch Mouse. 

Skills demonstrated: Product Design, NUI Interaction Design, Touch and Gesture Design, SW/HW Prototyping, Business Rationale and Consensus Building

Defining the user need

We knew it was important to create a mouse that would respond in full to apple's Magic Mouse. We also knew we wanted it to be better. So, we spent time understanding and distilling user needs. We defined them as:

1. Start with the virtues of a mouse.
2. Design for touch and gesture.
3. Create a modern accessory.

What does it mean to start with the virtues of a mouse?

Comfort as a competitive advantage

We sought to make the values of physical, visual and emotional comfort a key role in this product. 

As hardware designers, we knew that physical comfort in a mouse was paramount. This value centered our first principle of "Start with the virtues of a mouse" on the physical comfort and usability. We could not forgo delivering a good mouse just for the sake of delivering a touch device. 

Designing for touch and gesture means paying attention to form and function.

Form design should enable gestures

We used repeated user studies and iteration on the form and gesture design to ensure to two worked in concert to provide customers with an experience of success and delight.

Over 100 forms were made. In the end, six forms tested well in research studies, and enabled customers to perform the gesture repeatedly, comfortably, and with sustained recall. 


Using the concept of number fingers to convey level or type of interaction we created a set of gestures that would help customers perform repetitive daily tasks more easily. Putting the gestures in the context of managing a document, a window or the desktop made it easy to mentally map to and begin learning from a place of confidence.

Gesture design

The final list of gestures for the touch mouse included the 1,2,3 mechanism and helped user to navigate and manage Microsoft windows. 

State Diagrams and Interaction design

To ensure the correct result occurred from the customer input, I created and evangelized various state diagrams. Here are a few examples. 

Help navigate windows? What does that mean? . . .

And how do I know its working correctly?

Meaningful feedback

Feedback that reinforces, imrpoves, and helps a user to adjust performance. Feedback is meaningful when it is:

  • Specific
  • Timely
  • Focused
  • Intended to help
  • Authentic
  • Frequent

Methods for providing feedback that were investigated:

A gesture is recognized but the context is invalid.

  • On screen iconic visual of the gesture

A gesture is recognized by the context is constrained

  • Content can respond to constraint (for example stretch or bounce)
  • On screen iconic visual of the gesture

Every time we recognize a gesture

  • Content response to gesture
  • Content response to constraint
  • On screen iconic visual of the gesture

Is it cool?, How do we create a "modern accessory"?

A style that's all in the a family

The Touch Mouse has an emotional quality that is tied into a line of products that speak a language of sleek and sophisticated design. The softwareinteractions are high quality with smooth animations and transitions that are both desirable and expected.  Together it creates the sense of a modern computing accessory. 


Using Format