Computer eye strain has reached epidemic proportions with 50 to 90 percent of today’s computer workers reporting some type of eye fatigue or eye strain. This already translates in up to 10 million primary care eye examinations each year, adding to cost and loss of productivity. Add to that the growing nearsightedness from only 25% of 12- to 54-year-old Americans in the early 1970s to 41% in the 2000s, and continuing to trend up as we spend an increasing number of hours in front of digital displays.
Drafters and engineers are especially susceptible to excessive eye and neck strain. Here are the areas of concern:
- A graphical user interface that extends across a large, high resolution or multi-display configuration require continuous, repetitive head and eye movement, resulting not only in neck strain, but also taxing the eye muscles, sometimes leading to irritation, blurry or double vision, and headaches.
- The more menus and buttons that are presented on-screen at any given point in time, the higher the cognitive demand to perform certain tasks, especially as a user continuously scans the entire visual field. As displays become larger, the more challenging this becomes.
According to Morgan Ames and Anind Dey at UC Berkeley the answer lies in reducing the ‘cognitive load’ through the use of a reduced graphical user interface. BricsCAD’s QUAD cursor does exactly that. It automatically makes a set of functions available as needed, right at the cursor, based on a high probability of anticipated use. The result is:
- Fewer clicks for real time savings.
- Less cognitive stress from continuously moving the cursor back and forth from the work area to menus and buttons that are half a screen away.
From an ergonomics point of view this translates into quantifiable results as the context intelligent QUAD cursor keeps the level of intrusiveness appropriate to the tasks at hand, and the required visual field is reduced to a smaller area of the physical screen, requiring less attention, and therefore less strain. Especially when working on very large maps and drawing, this can make all the difference in the world.
As we see larger, high refresh 4K (UHD, 3840 x 2160) displays enter the market with surfaces that come close to the old drafting tables, there is a need for a whole new user interaction metaphor. Bricsys’ innovative QUAD cursor is inherently designed to meet that challenge, while the product itself, BricsCAD, also continues to accommodate the traditional, pull-down menu, button bar, ribbon, and deeply entrenched command line interfaces.
Check out this short video about the innovative BricsCAD QUAD cursor:
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