The venerable PC mouse was fine in its day, but smartphones and tablets have made most personal-computer users at least comfortable with touch-and-swipe.
But learning to love touch-and-swipe navigation on the desktop requires experimenting with various input devices.
Transitioning to another form of point-and-click
Let me start by saying that I like Windows 8. I understand the dilemma Microsoft faces, trying to both support its massive legacy base and transition to more advanced platforms. I believe that Windows 8 is a solid OS that accomplishes both goals — or at least it’s a good first step in the right direction.
Windows 7, a formidable successor to Windows XP, is a hard act to follow. But as personal computing continued its swing to mobile devices, Windows had to change. Making only incremental enhancements to Win7 was a recipe for a long slide into irrelevance.
I’ve read the litany of transgressions the new OS is accused of inflicting on Windows users. Most so-called deficiencies can be resolved by simply spending a few hours working with the OS — enough time to get comfortable with its new conventions and learn a few new computing habits.
One of those new conventions/habits is, again, touch-and-swipe navigation. If I could make only one recommendation for transitioning to Windows 8, it would be to ditch the mouse. Contrary to some pundits’ claims, Windows 8 is mouse-friendly. But there’s no denying that the OS works in a more intuitive way when you use gestures to move about.
I will confess that mice — especially those with a cord — are not my favorite pointing device. A wireless mouse is OK, but for desktop computing I’ve always preferred alternative devices such as the Kensington trackballs (more info).