Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mouse Handling - Palm Grip, Claw Grip, Fingertip Grip

Are you using the correct mouse mold for your preferred grip method? Razer has gone to great lengths to study the ergonomics of mouse handling and have determined there are 3 major styles:
  • Palm Grip
  • Claw Grip
  • Fingertip Grip
While the method of mouse gripping is purely up to the individual, each grip affords its own set of advantages and disadvantages and some mice are better suited for particular grip styles.

Razer outlines the pros and cons of each style below:

Palm Grip

Advantages of the palm grip:
The palm grip is the default way many users use to hold a computer mouse, and is found to be more comfortable for a user not accustomed to manipulating the mouse by lifting it and making constant adjustments with the fingers and palm.
With the palm grip, the user will primarily move the mouse by exerting force with his forearm and wrist to “push” the mouse around the mousing surface. By using this method, the user is able to move the mouse at higher speeds, and achieve higher Inches Per Second (IPS) ratings by doing so. Some gamers fine-tune their movements by rotating and pivoting their wrists, but gross speed is still the primary advantage that palm grip users experience.
The palm grip is also considered one of the most comfortable grip styles for gaming where the gamer is able to continue playing for extended hours without experiencing fatigue.

Disadvantages of the palm grip:
As previously noted, palm grip users have a natural tendency to move the mouse with their forearm and wrist. However, in order to keep the point of contact with their palm and the back of the mouse intact, users will find it difficult to perform fine tuning with their fingers.
The number of articulation points to manipulate the mouse is also less than what the claw grip offers. This in turn means that palm grip users are unable to make as many precise movements as they can when using a claw grip.

Claw Grip
Advantages of the claw grip:
The claw grip is preferred by users who require quick, precise movements, while having the rear of the mouse stabilized by the sixth contact point in the pit of the hand when lifting the mouse off the mousing surface.
A claw grip user will manipulate the mouse primarily by “pulling” the mouse around the mousing surface as the user’s hand is positioned above the mouse, and fine-tuning can be made by making minor adjustments with the user’s fingertips by either slightly rotating the mouse like a dial or pushing the mouse in and out of the pit of the user’s hand.
A final point to note with regards to the claw grip is that the primary and secondary mouse buttons can be actuated faster than when actuated with the palm grip. The pressure exerted by the tips of the user’s fingers positioned in the claw grip can result in quicker button actuation than fingers positioned in a palm grip. This is because fingers positioned in the palm grip require the user to use more force to actuate the mouse button due to the increased surface area each finger has to press down on.

Disadvantages of the claw grip:
Because most users have a natural tendency to palm their mouse, using the claw grip does not feel as natural to certain users and a learning curve is required to adjust to the claw grip.
Additionally, since the user is moving the mouse with his fingertips, fatigue can set in faster if the user does not possess refined fine motor skills with their fingertips and wrist. Because of this, the user will experience fatigue sooner and fine motor control will deteriorate, quickly affecting the user’s ability to move his mouse accurately.

Fingertip Grip
Advantages of the fingertip grip:
The fingertip grip is similar to the claw grip, in the fact that users prefer quick, precise movements, but differs because the user wants increased agility.
A fingertip grip user will also “pull” the mouse along a mousing surface, but since the rear of the mouse no longer makes contact with the pit of the user’s hand, the user can make further adjustments and tweak the mouse with his fingertips when compared to the claw grip.
Also like the claw grip, the primary and secondary mouse buttons can be actuated faster with the fingertip grip when compared to the palm grip.

Disadvantages of the fingertip grip:
With the fingertip grip, users will experience the most amount of hand fatigue as there are now only five points of contact with the mouse, and the user will be required to use more effort in controlling the stability and precise movements of the mouse.
The fingertip grip also requires the highest learning curve for most users, as the exaggerated arched fingers and increased amount of control over the mouse needs to be practised.

Palm, Claw, Fingertip Grip

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