Our testers preferred to access Windows 8's Charms bar using the touch screen.While using Windows 8 on a Samsung Series 7 resting in a docking station, I kept finding myself manipulating the touch screen with my left hand while my right hand was sitting on the mouse. I thought this must be an anomaly that nobody else would share, until I mentioned it to some of our other Windows 8 testers and found that they were doing the same thing.

It isn’t surprising that using the mouse for things you have been doing with a mouse for years is very intuitive, so you keep doing them that way. What was surprising is just how quickly some of the touch screen gestures become intuitive and the preferred method for doing things that can also be done with the mouse. All of our testers had a touch screen preference for accessing the edge-of-the-screen interface elements such as the Charms bar (see image, right). We all, being somewhat shortcut-key-oriented, also use the Windows key combinations to access these items at times. I’m the only one who also prefers using the touch screen rather than the CTRL key plus the mouse wheel to zoom, although others agreed that being able to zoom and position simultaneously was a benefit.

This could lead to some changes in office ergonomics. I’m thinking my ideal setup is the keyboard and mouse in a drawer, but the touch screen device within easy reach. This helps both with being able to use the touch screen while docked and the fact that the screen on a tablet is smaller than the screens on current laptops. The next step is to get the larger secondary monitor positioned above and slightly farther away than the tablet screen. Then I’ll have to see if I can get used to moving windows from screen to screen using the Windows key + SHIFT + the left or right arrow keys when the displays are arranged vertically.

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