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Web Zen

Dontclick.it: Buttonless site helps break down bifurcated worldview

If you've caught the ads for this summer's inevitable Adam Sandler vehicle Click ("What if you had a universal remote . . . that controlled your universe?"), you're aware that only weeks remain before the subtle, underrecognized connection between the act of pointing-and-clicking and the fantasy of world domination becomes an official 21st-century cliché. Perhaps now would be the moment then to spend a little time at dontclick.it, the Institute for Interactive Research's strangely appealing fantasy of an online world freed from the domination of the mouse click. "[P]repare yourself mentally for the new situation and click here for the last time," advises a mildly Orwellian intro before you're ushered into dontclick.it's button-free zone, where a clever, gorgeous Flash overlay makes a tidy package of blobjects, factoids, and mini-essays about the mouse click accessible entirely at the brush of a cursor.
A mousetrap for the click-happy
Giulietta Verdon-Roe
A mousetrap for the click-happy

Could this be the Web interface of the future? Probably not, but that appears to be beside the point. Navigating the structure of the site—from its "Mousecamp" section, where mini-games train you to resist the urge to click, to the "Experiments" in clickless Web design—has a fluid, restful quality to it, but as with the Zen meditation it sort of resembles, the effect isn't so much to show you a better way to move through the world as to make you more mindful of the ways you already do. After a few minutes swimming around in dontclick.it's domain, you can't help noticing the stark, staccato rhythms of the point-and-click routine—or feeling just a little less committed to its bifurcated worldview. You move, you click, you move, you click, and sure, it's a handy way to keep control. But every now and then it doesn't hurt to take your finger off that button and feel the oneness of the interface.

 
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