Microsoft Arc Mouse and Simplicity

Last week everyone on the team received a Microsoft Arc Mouse. I’ve been wanting to try it for a while since the first time I saw it in Oct. The arc shape of the mouse really attracts me and invites my hand naturally to hold it. As I’m reading the book "Laws of Simplicity" by John Maeda this week, I can’t help relating the Arc mouse design with the laws of simplicity.

The first law of simplicity is REDUCE. As John stated: "The Simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction." The Arc mouse reduces 40% of its size when folded. It not only easier to carry this way but the folding design also reduces an extra power switch present in other mice. Users unfold the mouse to turn it on and fold it to turn it off. The power light indicating mouse on/off is placed between the left and right mouse button. The Arc design also reduces the mouse weight because the centre of the mouse is hollow. Holding a much lighter mouse than my previous one took me some time to get use to. I find myself placing my small finger under the arc to hold it.


The seventh law of simplicity is EMOTION. Sometimes simply designed objects can be considered as ugly or cheap. However, this is not the case in the Arc Mouse. Besides the initial attraction of holding the elegant arc object, the finishing material design of the arc could make it much more attractive and expensive. For example, one style of the arc mice is finished with red wood on the top (see the picture below on the left by Kerry Chin). When explaining this law, John introduced "nude electronics" in his book. The idea is "while the core object remains its pure, simple, and cool nakedness; its clothing can keep it warm, vivacious, … the combination of a simple object together with a host of optical accessories gives consumers the benefit of expressing their feelings and feelings for their objects." Check it out: I’ve now dressed my arc mouse in a Chinese style carry case rather than using the default carry case it. Its small and convenient size allows me to personalize it. Now I like it even more, and no one can say its cheap or ugly. 🙂


DIFFERENCES is the fifth law of simplicity. "Simplicity and complexity need each other." I still like and use my Microsoft Presenter Mouse 8000. It has a lot more functions than the Arc Mouse, and I can’t live without it when I’m presenting. However, I appreciated the simplicity of the Arc Mouse more when I compare it with the Presenter Mouse. The micro-transceiver of the Arc Mouse snaps into the bottom of the mouse, which makes two separating parts into one.

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