It’s possible to download free software that allows people to use a mouse, or mouse alternative such as a rollerball or headpointer, without needing to use the mouse button. The dwell software provides a ‘virtual click’ when the mouse is hovered over an icon, button, menu etc., for a amount of time that can be adjusted in the software.
Windows XP, Vista, 7 and Windows 8 all contain a free on-screen keyboard that has a dwell delay feature built in and ready to use. The dwell feature works on the keyboard but not for the rest of Windows and its software.
There’s a range of free and commercial on-screen keyboards that can type as well as control Windows features, browse the internet etc., using mouse, rollerballs, eye gaze, etc., or switch access.
You’ll need to download an additional piece of software in order to access all elements of Windows and the Internet using dwell delay. Download links to two free examples can be found at the bottom of this page.
The dwell time is the amount of time a person has to wait before the virtual click is sent to the computer. Set the time too long and you may find it difficult to hold the mouse steady long enough to get a positive result. Also use of the computer can become rather slow overall. Set too short a time and the virtual clicks could be sent inadvertently all over the screen.
The target size is usually limited by the size of the button, icon or menu item you are trying to press. It’s a good idea to make buttons and icons bigger so that they’re easier to target.
Sound and visual cues
Feedback is very important for mouse dwell users as it informs them that the computer has acknowledged their intention and indicates how long they have to hold the mouse steady until the click is accepted. Dwell programs use a variety of methods to indicate this.
Point-N-Click is completely free. It has a lot of options including movement sensitivity, transparency, multi-language support, break time prompts, macros, resizable buttons, keyboard shortcuts and software exclusions. As a result it’s very powerful but also a bit more complex to use,