The Architect's Mouse

As someone who spends a lot of time every day drafting/3d modeling on the computer, my hardware setup has evolved over time. While in college, I didn't really have a preference for anything other than a responsive enough computer and a large screen/monitor to work on, but as I've worked in several different offices and professional environments, I've come to see just how important one's hardware setup is not just for comfort, but also for efficiency. In today's post, I'm going to focus on my choice of mouse. **I have NOT been paid or reached out to by any of the companies I mention in this blog post to date.**

The computer mouse is a trip. Think about it. You have a device that you hold (most likely than not) in your right hand and navigate your computer through it. I know you're already rolling your eyes thinking laptops use trackpads, and maybe some of you use Apple's Magic Trackpad, but I'm pretty confident that if you're in architecture, you're using a hardware mouse. This is probably going to be super nerdy, but I swear I was looking for information like this and simply couldn't find any. If you are a heavy duty CAD draftsman, you're going to thank me later. 

the basic mouse...

the basic mouse...

There are all kinds of mice (mouses? mouse (plural)?). My original fascination with the mouse once I started realizing my own needs, led me to Logitech. Still a force in the computer accessory market, Logitech makes solid products. The above is a more or less standard mouse that worked well for me in my early drafting days where portability was important. Below is another Logitech mouse that I used in tighter working conditions (geez, did I work in a jail cell or something, right?) where I needed to be able to keep my mouse still, but still work with larger gesture movements. 

...To a trackball mouse that lets your wrist stay static...

...To a trackball mouse that lets your wrist stay static...

When I moved to Korea and began doing more CAD work on a regular basis, I opted for something a little more ergonomic.

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So why is this so much more ergonomically better, you might ask. The diagram below explains...

While the occasional traditional mouse use doesn't do much harm, long term mouse use easily fatigues the forearm and fingers. The vertical mouse reduces tension and prolongs efficient cad work. It's much more like holding a pencil or stylus.

While the occasional traditional mouse use doesn't do much harm, long term mouse use easily fatigues the forearm and fingers. The vertical mouse reduces tension and prolongs efficient cad work. It's much more like holding a pencil or stylus.

Anker is another reputable computer accessory brand that offered a similar standing mouse. The design is very similar to the generic re-brand I bought in Korea, but the matte and sightly soft-touch plastic certainly felt like an upgrade. It also featured an additional thumb button towards the top of the mouse that I never really used, but it seemed like it could be useful for some. 

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I really bought into the Anker ergo mouse. Not only was it built tighter and better than my generic standing mouse version 1.0, but it became so critical to my work that I carried it along with my laptop wherever I went. I eventually even bought an additional identical mouse so that I could leave one at my office, and have one at home. But the more I used the Anker mouse for super heavy CAD work, the more I realized I had some minor complaints. By super heavy CAD use, I mean like 8+ hours a day of 3d modeling, in addition to 2+ hours of other nonchalant computer activity.

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For a long time, I had heard of another ergo mouse company called Evoluent. While I held off mainly because of the difference in price, it did intrigue me that they focused solely on mice. So why the heck were they so much more expensive? At some point, after getting a new project retainer, I indulged myself in ordering one on Amazon. It only took me a half day's use to realize what a difference the Evoluent mouse made. 

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I immediately noticed the weighting of the mouse was different. There's a fine balance between a mouse being too hard to move around, and one that's too light. Also, click and scroll feel is important to someone like me who uses the scroll wheel to zoom in and out. With the Evoluent, you feel the scroll clicks, but they're not so annoying and loud. 

The biggest key difference lies in the part of the mouse that I have circled above in red. I call this 'the pinkie pad'. While after heavy use of a traditional mouse, some users get wrist burn – heavy use of previous standing mice began to give me pinkie burn, along with the whole side end of my hand from pinkie to wrist. The pinkie pad on the Evoluent gave my pinkie a place to rest and this began to make a huge difference. The curvature of the mouse also feels the most natural. Trust me, when I first started looking into standing ergonomically friendly mice, I was quite turned off by the pictures and shape, but it's really not as bad as it looks. For actual users, you get more of a view of that on the right and really, it's crying out to your hand to hold it, and it feels good. An added bonus for Evoluent? They make LEFT HANDED mice too. Give it a shot, especially if you've been on the fence or are already in pain like I was.

Cheers,

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