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Choosing a Mouse Pad

mouse-padThis afternoon when I was sitting in my cubicle going through my email, a few questions came to my mind.  The questions were along these lines, Why don’t I have a mouse pad?  Should I have one?  Are they just cutesy or are they functional?  Of course, my questions led to a little research and the topic of my blog post today!

 

When do you need a mouse pad?

According to www.theeffectiveadmin.com/, You need a mouse pad when….

  • You don’t get optimal performance from your mouse without one.
  • You don’t get any performance from your mouse without one (e.g. it’s required with that particular mouse).
  • It will help you with office ergonomics, such as raising the mouse up to the right height for you.  Or when using a mouse accessory will give your hand more support.
  • You want a cute peripheral accessory for your desktop. 

It is important to consider what type of mouse you use at the office.  If you are using the old fashioned mechanical mouse with the hard tracking ball on the underside, using a a mouse pad will likely give it some better resistance and thus a smoother moving experience.  It may also keep the track ball and mouse insides cleaner.  You won’t be rolling the mouse around the desktop and all over the snack crumbs and dust remnants that can get inside by the track ball.  Thus, you will not be required to tear the mouse open and remove the ball to clean because it is not acting properly.

 

Typically, an optical mouse will work fine on a clean desktop. However, if you’re looking for some more precision, you may want a performance mousing surface like game players use. You’ll find some mouse pads specifically labeled as made for optical mice. Precision mousing surfaces are common among graphic designers and those using programs where you need to be quite detailed and exact.

 

Material:

The surface material of your mouse pad should give you traction and a smooth rolling experience.  If your mouse pad does not have these two qualities, it is just a piece of junk on your desk!  The backing should be a non-slip design, usually rubber.  Your mouse pad is not of much use if it keeps falling on the floor and this is why improvising a mouse pad versus buying the real thing doesn’t always work.

 

Size:

A thicker cushion on the mouse pad might be useful if you’re trying to bring the mouse up higher (to be more even with your keyboard). Or you could stack another mouse pad on top to achieve the same effect. There is a product out call the mouse booster that is along the same concept.

 

In regard to size, everyone may be a little different.  You may need a wider mousing surface because you keep scrolling off the edge of the mouse pad and don’t like to pick up the mouse and move it back.  On the other hand, you may want a smaller mouse pad that fits better in your smaller workstation.

 

Wrist Rest/Pillow Option:

You can get built-in gel wrist rest or palm support with your mousing surface. If you’re not using a mouse pad for your mouse, you can still buy a separate wrist rest/palm support without the mousing surface.  This will support your hand or your palm and offer protection to your wrist and related nerve while you’re using the mouse.

 

Adjustable Mouse Platform or Mouse Bridge:

A mouse platform or bridge might enable you to put the mouse over the numeric keypad on your keyboard.  You can also use a mouse platform that sits adjacent to your keyboard to adjust the angle of your mousing experience.

 

Comfort:

Some mousing accessories, such as wrist/palm supports, are ventilated for a cooler feel, literally. Angle and height are important ergonomically to help customize your mousing experience.

 

Price:

Mousing accessories range from free to $50 on average. Free would be a simple mouse pad a business gives as a premium gift to their customers. The higher $50 range might be a mouse pad or mousing surface with a built-in ergonomically correct wrist/palm rest.

 

Style:

I still think this is the best part about mouse pads!  The options are endless.  You can be boring and stare at your companies’ logo all day or you can customize a mouse pad with a picture of your loved ones.  The sky is pretty much the limit, whoever you are, you can find a mouse pad to express yourself.  Just remember to be tasteful and professional in the office!