Mouse Gestures is a useful Firefox extension which helps you execute many of the commonly used Firefox commands thru’ mouse movements. If you are paranoid about only using the Keyboard, then stop here. Or else continue.
Imagine if you could just hold down a Mouse button (configurable) and move it to the left and you navigate back a page, instead of the usual way of clicking on the back button or using Alt-Left arrow!! Wouldn’t that speed up browsing? I am pretty sure it would and once you get used to using Mouse gestures browsing becomes a breeze.
Mouse Gestures has been created by Optimoz and helps the user use the mouse for most of the commonly used browser actions. The most common ones like Back, Forward, Open tab, Close tab, Open Window and many more actions are already available with the pack and it is just a matter of getting to know the gestures. Mouse Gestures basically helps you reduce the stress on your fingers by reducing the repetitive movement of the wrists during browsing. The biggest problem with using Mouse Gestures would be that of learning. Since it is a new way of using a browser, it will take some effort, but it is worth it and will surely speed up browsing.
A word of caution: Please use mouse gestures only for the most commonly used actions. Don’t start using it for everything that is mentioned in the supported gestures page. For ex: To bookmark the gesture is something like D(Down) -> R (Right) -> D (Down) -> L (Left) -> U (Up). The document says DRDLU. I am pretty sure people would prefer Ctrl-D or using the menu to bookmark. So, list down 6-7 of the commonly performed actions and learn those gestures.
Installation and Configuration:
Download the software from the Firefox add-ons site and follow the normal add-on install procedure of Firefox. Once you have done that, go to
Tools-> Add ons and click on Options below the Mouse gestures add-on. The following screen will pop-up.
This screen lets you configure which mouse button you want to use for a gesture and also the time limit of a gesture capture.
I prefer the “Left Mouse Button” for the mouse gesture to be executed and the other options I have left it at default. I wasn’t too comfortable using the Right Mouse Button as it popped up the Right Click Menu on many occasions.
If you are a beginner, then it is good to enable trails. (3rd tab in the Options window). You can set the colour and width of the trail.
Rocker options are also available. Have a look at the second tab.
Click on Edit Gestures button and you will see a screen similar to the one on the left. On the bottom left hand corner the notation that is used for explaining the gestures is mentioned and the table on the top left hand corner has all the notations.
:20: Hold the mouse button and move from right to left (Back).
Some of the drawbacks of Mouse gestures include providing Visibility of the action to the user. The problem is two fold as to provide visibility the gesture has to be drawn on the page, but if the gesture is drawn it becomes intrusive. Also, the feedback provided isn’t that obvious. Voice enabled feedback would be a great addition, but that might become a overkill for a add-on to Firefox.