Double- vs. Single-clicking

I’ve noticed that one of the most pervasive computer habits that many people have with computer use is an over-use of the double-click. For your convenience, here is a small and non-comprehensive list of the basic tasks to use each kind of click for:

Double-clicking

  • Opening a program on your desktop
  • Opening a file in most places
  • Selecting the entire word when you’re editing text

Single-clicking

  • Selecting/highlighting an icon
  • Pressing a button
  • Clicking a link
  • Most other things you want to do

Interestingly, I’ve noticed that this problem isn’t just one exhibited by older computer users, but also apparent in low-confidence computer users my age and younger (yes, they do exist, in force). Also interesting, is this assertion on Wikipedia that “Macintosh Operating Systems only require one mouse click for most executions.” It seems like Apple tends to be at the forefront of desktop culture, so it’s not surprising that we use single clicks for more and more. Of course, what with the rise of tablets and touchscreens, soon we may not be using mice at all!

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