Add a video game “stamina meter” to the mouse and keyboard. Stop treating mouse clicks like an unlimited resource, and appreciate them more fully!


In many video games, a character will have a certain set of attributes, like “strength” or “endurance.” Strangely, this system has not yet been translated outside the realm of gaming.


In order to bring the addictive leveling-up-a-character and number-management system of games into normal computer operation, it is proposed that the user’s interaction with the computer also have RPG-like “levels” and character attributes (see Figure 1).

Fig. 1: This Level 17 Mouse Pointer has a “health pool” of 949 left clicks (orange, top bar) and 205 right clicks (lime green, bottom bar). As you can see, this one might need to take a rest soon, if the user keeps clicking frequently in their spreadsheet.

As an example, a new computer user might start with a Level 1 Mouse Pointer that has an endurance of 100 mouse clicks before it is exhausted (Figure 2). Clicks would regenerate ate a rate of, say, one click every 5 seconds, or perhaps the user could also drink a magical “Mouse Hit Points Healing Potion.”

Fig. 2: When the user’s mouse cursor is depleted of clicks, it enters a “sleep” mode to intuitively convey this fact to the user. That’s some top-notch UI / UX there: for intuitive understandability, this is even better than the “flat bar on a door means ‘push’, curved handle means ‘pull’.” Remember to properly cite this worst plan when using this incredible example in future UI books!

This would have the side benefit of throttling heavy computer use, and might reduce the number of repetitive stress injuries.

There is no reason to limit this “video game leveling” system to just the mouse: common keyboard shortcuts could also be rate-limited by “cooldowns” (Figure 3), just as special abilities are in games.

Fig. 3: The user will need to wait another 24 seconds before the “copy” shortcut is off cooldown and can be used again.


There are a nearly unlimited number of ways that these mechanics could be applied to a UI. For example, scrolling on a phone could consume “scrolling energy,“ or a user might need to level up their window manager before they can show more than (say) two browser windows at the same time. Individual keys on the keyboard could also be rationed this way: for example, typing a “Z” might consume 10 units of “keyboard energy,” while an “E” is just one unit.

PROS: Encourages more thoughtful use of clicks and keyboard shortcuts. No more taking the mouse pointer for granted! May reduce repetitive stress injuries.

CONS: Might be difficult to properly balance for optimum user enjoyment.