Designing for Mouse-Free Scenarios

Like standard keyboards, mice are optional Ultra-Mobile PC command and control devices. A good UMPC user interface assumes that users are likely to rely on alternative input devices, such as touch and stylus.

Mouse-Free Recommendations:

Hover Feedback

In the absence of a mouse, the Ultra-Mobile PC touch screen does not provide hover-like feedback. As a result, ToolTips and other information that typically display as a result of a mouse-over hover state are not accessible on the display.

  • Don't rely on hover feedback for critical tasks.
  • Clearly label all user interface elements, or use icon graphics to communicate meaning.
  • Consider providing hover feedback with object focus after an item is tapped.
  • If pop-up dialog boxes are used to provide hover feedback, make sure to provide a way for the user to quickly close them.

Contextual Menus

Without a right-click mouse or stylus event, it isn't possible to open standard contextual menus.

  • Minimize overall reliance on right-clicking.
  • Don't require that an action be accessible only by right-clicking.
  • Consider opening context menus with object focus after an item is tapped.


Scrollbars require fine motor control and focused attention to target and manipulate. They can be difficult for some users to manipulate by touch.

  • Make scrollbar thumb and up/down buttons at least 1 cm x 1 cm.
  • Consider using paged or drag-gable content as alternatives to scrolling.


  • Finger dragging, gestures, and direct manipulation of content and user interface elements should be quick and simple.
  • Ensure that dragging by using a finger or gestures is discoverable.
  • Include drag-and-drop functionality only when the drag source and drop target are both on–screen.
  • Ensure that critical user interface elements are not obscured by the user's hand while dragging.
  • Ensure that fine motor control is not required to initiate a drag.