Dec 17 2011
The secret to becoming a power computer user is by using the keyboard. Although the mouse is a great tool for novice users, ultimately it’s faster to find your way around by knowing keyboard shortcuts. For instance when you’re filling out a form it’s quicker to press tab to switch from field to field. Or if you’d like to save a document you can press control-S, rather than search for the buttons through the navigation menu.
One of the most common workflows is for people to press control-C to copy and then control-V to paste. Many of us do this multiple times a day. For instance you’re reading an article online and come across a term or name you aren’t familiar with. You cut and paste the name into a Google search box. Or perhaps you come across something you’d like to buy. Again, you press control-C and then navigate out to Amazon to explore it further. It seems many of these repetitive key and click workflows all start with control-C.
One of the hallmarks of good User Design is reducing the number of buttons people have to press to do what they’d like. So it stands to reason that a better design would start with when users press control-C, and then fast forward to what they would like to do. Such a fast forward option now exists, with click.to. click.to, found at clicktoapp.com, is a small desktop app that will revolutionize the way you use the computer.
Once installed click.to tracks the times users add items to their clipboard. That is, every time they press control-C or right click and copy. Once the item is added to the clipboard an opaque set of buttons appears from which the user can click. They can press one of these buttons, and in one fell swoop they can complete the action they were planning. So if I copy a name to the clipboard intending to enter it in Google search, as soon as I press control-C I’ll be presented with a series of buttons. From there I can select Google, and with that my default browser will be opened to Google’s search page with the term’s search results displayed. The total effort exerted by me consists of pressing control-C and then a single click.
This simple workflow is certainly convenient when it comes to searching terms on Google. This is just scratching the surface though. click.to really starts to shine as you add more and more apps to your list. There’s anything from making Twitter posts, Facebook updates, uploading pics to Flickr, and any number of actions you might do online. It makes navigation of the web quicker, faster, and easier.
The other workflow that click.to automates are for local apps. So if you highlight and copy text that you’d like to include in a Word document, you can do so. Or if you come across data that you’d like to add to Excel it can just as easily be added there as well. All these user workflows are common tasks people do in their day to day work. click.to makes them a few steps shorter.
The list of web and desktop apps that are supported by click.to includes many of the most popular apps. It’s by no means a comprehensive list of apps though. If there’s an app that someone uses frequently they can add it as a custom app. That way people can customize their workflows both locally and online so common tasks are just one click away.
Visionaries and entrepreneurs attempt to come up with new and innovative ways for people to utilize computers. These include touch screens, optical readers, and any number of ways to send and receive information from the computer. click.to makes logical and good use of the tools at hand and makes them easier to use. Rather than clicking multiple times to upload a photo, or search on a term, you only need to click once. It’s the new way to open applications and helps us get to where we’re going faster.