This is the reason why the computer cursor is always inclined Windows | España | México | USA | TECHNOLOGY

The world is, inevitably, connected: “In January 2022, there were 4,950 internet users worldwide, around 62.5 percent of the world’s population”, according to the indicators of the Digital 2022 report made by the creative agency We Are Social and the Canadian platform Hootsuite; while computer es, hasta el momento, el segundo dispositivo más usado para transitar por la red.

With a growing digital society, the true question that arises is: What do Latin American users have in common with American, Asian, European, African and Oceanic navigators? Although seemingly irresolvable, the response is found in the eyes of millions of Internet users when they are immersed in the dynamic and ever-changing digital universe.

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Functional for all and irrelevant for some, the computer cursor is an indispensable tool que, a menudo, es pasada por alto por los usuarios. Even so, it is used by millions of people across the globe, regardless of continent, gender or brand.

¿Se ha preguntado qué sería de su experiencia navegando en la net si no contara con un indicator que le showra su posición en un un monitor o simply, no pudiese interactar con los objetos que apparente en la pantalla? Estas last, precisely, algunas de las funciones de la flecha de los computerores, uno de los indicators más conocidos de quienes navegan por internet y, quizás, uno de los más ignoredos.

Many people around the world connect to the internet via a computer.  (Photo: El Tiempo)
Many people around the world connect to the internet via a computer. (Photo: El Tiempo)

Si usted es de los que pasa horas y horas delante de la computadora, seguro habra habrado un pequeno detalle que, a simple vista, parece insignificante: la flecha del cursor siempre está inclinada. ¿La razón? Define the line between functionality and invisibility.

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The arrival of the cursors

The first time in history that it was possible for a user to move around the desk without using the keyboard is, in large part, the achievement of Douglas Engelbart, considered the father and inventor of one of the objects that revolutionized the computer world: el mouse de la computadora. La diferencia es que en esa época -1960- no se llamaba ‘mouse’, sino XY Position Indicator for a Display System; y su diseño era bastante distinto a los modernos peréfiricos que se manjan hoy en día.

Licensed in electronics, veteran of the Second World War and doctor of engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, Engelbart’s message was simple: he wanted accessible technology. The Department of Defense, through DARPA -Agency for Advanced Defense Research Projects- was the first institution to create its visionary ideal and, consequently, provided all the support to have its own center in the Research Institute de Stanford (SRI por sus siglas en inglés), de acuerdo con la revista de divulgación monthly ‘Muy Interesante’.

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The idea of ​​how to improve human-computer interaction was something that obsessed Engelbart and his Augmentation Research Center working group, who put dozens of proposals on the table that, ultimately, pretended to facilitate the life and navigation of the usuarios por las computadoras.

From a joystick to a light pen, the inventions that crossed the mind of Engelbart and his collaborators were so numerous that what appeared to be an impossible dream ended up materializing in the invention of the XY Position Indicator for a Display System’, “un bloque de madera de sequoya tallado que incluida dos ruedas engarzadas en su parte baja y un botón en la superior”, according to the magazine mentioned earlier.

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Fue así como se creó the ‘ratón’, whose initial model was a kind of cube that rested on two wheels and allowed to move the pointer on the screen a lo largo de uno de los dos ejes. Later, on November 17, 1970, it was patented by Douglas Engelbart.

The legendary inventor not only created one of the great computer gadgets of the era, but also wanted to show in ‘La madre de todas las demos’ – a historical conference held in San Francisco – all the functions that he had developed together a su equipo, a lo largo de los últimos años.

During 90 minutes, the stunned audience of more than 1,000,000 professionals witnessed many of the characteristics of modern computing for the first time.: videoconferences en directo, intercambio de documentos, processos de textos, ventanas y un extraño dispositivo señalador al que se hacía referencia en broma como ‘el ratón’. Los elements de la pantalla se vinculaban con otros via enlaces associativos o hypertextos”, says the Computer History Museum.

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Technology was to blame

Con la llegada del ‘mouse’ de la computadora también sobrevino la flecha que se conocere hoy en día. The only difference is that the indicator points upwards and does not incline 45 degrees, as it does currently.

Es dueto a la resolution de las pantallas de la época que los cursores se inclinaban 45°.  (Photo: El Tiempo)
Es dueto a la resolution de las pantallas de la época que los cursores se inclinaban 45°. (Photo: El Tiempo)

It was precisely Xerox – the world’s largest supplier of toner photocopiers and accessories – the company that decided against Engelbart’s initial design. ¿La razón? La baja resolution de las pantallas de la época amenazaban con convertir en imperceptible, casi invisible, al cursor; raison por la cual, The solution consisted of slightly tilting the indicator at a angle of 45 degrees to facilitate recognitionaccording to the chain radial ‘RPP’.

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As explained by the portal ‘UXpañol’: “the cursor was of the same size as the characters, and indeed it was one more character.” That is to say, no flotaba en cualquier sentido como los cursores modernos, sino que se slidezaba vertical y horizontalmentesimilar to cuando se usan las flechas de posición en el teclado”.

Decades después de su invención, los usuarios aún usan el cursor inclinado, incluso de pesar de contar con pantalla de alta resolution que lo hacen necesario.

GDA / El Tiempo / Colombia


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