Should you start using a trackball mouse when at the computer?

I recently bought myself my first trackball mouse. I spent many hours - every day - at the computer, and I have done this for many years. I decided if I am to continue having a job in software development for the next 40 years I would have to look out for myself. I had heard about trackball mice before but I thought they were only for a small group of people. I decided to give it a try in order to create more variation in the way I work.

After some browsing around the internet and reading several articles I concluded this:

  • Regular mice can be tough on your wrists and shoulder.
  • Accuracy is not a problem, as long as you do not have to be pixel precise (my own judgement). Some even claim that trackballs are more precise than regular mice.
  • Variation is key - You can always use a trackball mouse at home and a regular mouse at work and vice versa.
  • Trackball mice are only "better" if you have carpal tunnel syndrome or another illness.
  • It often comes down to personal preference.

Trackball mice are not better unless you have issues with your wrists or shoulders. A trackball mouse can be used as preventive. But I believe sitting correctly and taking breaks are much more important. Variation is always a good thing - I myself have a regular mouse at the office and a trackball one at home.

I would suggest you trying a trackball mouse yourself and seeing if you like it. It took me only a day or two to get used to it. Now I do not even have to concentrate to use it - I just do. Myself I bought the "Kensington Expert Trackball Mouse". It seemed pretty popular and well-known. It makes scrolling web pages a pleasure with it's scrolling wheel. One thing I still have to get used to, is using the buttons at the top.

In the recent years I started standing up at work and I bought a more ergonomic keyboard. I believe that variation is the key and standing up walking around once in a while is a great help. A great excuse I have for this is getting coffee/water. I also got myself a wireless headset so that I can walk away from the computer during meetings.