Guest post (BlackBox) – Why every click counts

Guest post (BlackBox) – Why every click counts

With a bit of tongue in cheek, “This is not only my first guest post on [blog nauseam], it’s also my first guest post on any blog.” Thanks, Steve!

I get to write about one of my favorite AutoCAD features, and share a short personal story.

Yesterday I read Frank Mayfield’s article on time-sensitive Right Click, which made me recall an opportunity to help a new user on a design task the other day. I led them through an approach to mitigate a design issue, noticed they weren’t using time-sensitive Right Click, and asked them why?

User: Why not?

Me: Fair question; because it’s extra clicks.

User: It’s just a few extra clicks.

Me: Correct; every click counts.

User: Yeah, but it only takes a few seconds.

Me: Correct; how many seconds? Do the same task each way and time it.

User: <Does the task each way>… It only takes an extra 6 seconds.

Me: Good. Now extrapolate that; how many times a day do you do this?

User: Oh, all the time! Haha Hundreds of times a day.

Me: Okay, call it 100, because you won’t do that everyday.

User: 6 secs, 100 times a day, is 600 secs, that’s only 10 mins per day.

Me: Correct; extrapolate that over a year: 5 days, 50 weeks.

User: <Does the math>… Holy crap! 2500 mins? 41.7 hrs? That’s more than a week!

Me: Correct; you just cost the owner a week of otherwise billable time in extra right clicks. Get it now?

User: I get it now.

Me: I know.  <Smiles and walks away>  (<— Yes, I smile! A lot actually)

The user has since opted for the more efficient method on their own, and demonstrated this mindfulness for detail in other areas as well.

I show them the trade-offs and let them choose for themselves.

Accountability makes us better, more capable. Owning our decisions and learning from missteps earns respect. Only then do we see what a real team can do. #GetAfterIt


  1. James Maeding

    Blackbox, I generally work hard to avoid tasks requiring mouse clicks. That thing of right click as enter implies the user is avoiding the space bar, and I bet a lot of other keyboard use. I don’t know why adesk does not market autocad as the most ergonomic cad prog out there, due to the ability to maximize quick keyboard use, and mostly with one hand too. Anyway, if a right click hold provides some unique ability in certain cases, as I don’t doubt it does, its great. I do tell people holding a mouse button and doing a move (drag) is the most stressful thing you can do to your mouse hand. So I advertise key-in making with lisp before mouse methods but man its hard to break people of mouse over-use. The wrist braces are getting more fashionable though as the ribbon is taught to the younger generation 🙂

    1. Black Box

      Hi James – Always good to speak with you!

      You’re not wrong; I also use Space Bar frequently. This was a judgment call on my part that this lesson was going to resonate well with this particular user. They’re the only one here that’s younger than me. I’m not sure this would have had the same impact on them had I not taken this path, and I’m not sure I’d have gone this route with my more experienced users. I trusted my gut.


  2. James Maeding

    BTW, I bet you have all kinds of tips and experience this audience would like. I’m always looking for variety of thought, especially on running acad at startup and organizing tools and files. The companies transitioning to Bricscad need this advice as I find their AutoCad use was disorganized so their transition is a bit of herding cats..

    1. Black Box

      That’s kind of you to say; thank you. :beer:

      I try to read everything I can during the day, and frequently give up sleep to read even more Haha – Steve can attest to my being a night owl.

      I especially try to read what folks I might disagree with have to say, as we don’t all get to work in echo chambers, and when life presents the need for conflict resolution, there’s almost always a mutually beneficial solution.

      Being organized is important, and should be the goal. Life rarely challenges us when things are great, so don’t forget to be comfortable being uncomfortable. It keeps you hungry, like the job is never done.

      Besides, herding cats is easy… You choose a direction to move, tell them where you’re going, ask them to come with you, and bring their catnip & bowl of milk with you… The ones that want it will follow willingly.

      Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.


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