Touchpad “Tap to Click” is Ruining IT’s Reputation

If you are at all responsible for IT support, you may want to think this through.

Every laptop with a touchpad has that pad located right beneath the keyboard where it is likely to get tapped several times while typing anything. And every laptop I have recently installed has the “tap-to-click” feature ON by default.

So, count on your users accidentally tapping the pad and causing a mouse click quite often. I can train myself to avoid the accidental tap, but I find it very difficult. Not only do I doubt that users can train themselves to avoid it, but when you do accidentally click while typing, the results are amazingly confusing. The screen seems to rearrange itself randomly and the focus for typing moves.

My conclusion: computers are mysterious enough for many users. How many times have you been told the computer “just did something” and they had nothing to do with it? What the manufacturers have done by making tap-to-click the default is to reinforce that meme with something close to reality. Through no conscious act at all, users see random changes on their screen, window flipping, everything disappearing (just move your mouse pointer to the lower right and “accidentally” tap) and reappearing, and the words they type refuse to appear.

No wonder people hate IT. We do it to ourselves. Please disable tap-to-click — I always do for my installations.