Select the Proper Interaction Devices

Interaction devices are the input mechanisms or devices through which people communicate their needs and desires to the computer, and the output mechanisms or devices through which the computer responds to people. The fast-paced evolution of computer systems has seen greatly expanded families of devices to assist and enhance this communication. The distinction between input and output devices is not always clear-cut, however. The common keyboard, for example, is essentially a device for keying information, commands, and so forth. But the keyboard also has an output component. A properly designed keyboard provides feedback when a key is pressed; an audible click and a tactile resistance change when it activates or bottoms-out. For this discussion, devices will be categorized and reviewed based upon their primary purpose — input or output.

Input Devices

For years the device of choice in display-based systems was the standard keyboard and some human-engineered variations. As graphical systems evolved, emphasis shifted to another device, the mouse and some of its cousins: the trackball and joystick. These new mechanisms are most commonly referred to as pointing devices. A few other devices have also been around and have seen extended service through the years: the light pen and the graphic tablet. Some unique human devices also exist: touch and voice. A finger has been used in conjunction with touch-sensitive screens. Our vocal chords are ...

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