The client was a lawyer who frequently worked 60 hours per week. She rarely stopped to take breaks. Due to arthritis, computer-induced overuse injuries, and long hours of stationary sitting while operating a computer, she began to experience pain and muscle weakness from her fingers to upper-back. She reported that mousing caused more problems than keyboarding.
After ergonomic and assistive technology assessments, workplace adjustments were put in place:
After implementation, she used a combination of keyboard, mouse, and speech recognition, and reported less pain and fatigue. However, she found it frustrating and difficult to save documents into different folders. During a typical day, she saved twenty to thirty files, e-mail messages, and attachments into six folders.
The "normal" way to save files into folders — using "Save As..." dialog boxes — is physically and cognitively demanding. "Save As..." dialog boxes are awkward to operate by keyboard and/or voice. In her case, changing to a folder by mouse requires as many as seven clicks and seven double-clicks. Different "Save As..." dialog boxes behave differently: some "remember" the last folder to which a document was saved; others reset the folder to a default after each save. I observed her taking up to 45 seconds to change folders before saving a document.
I used Macro Express to develop six text ("ShortKey") macros. A ShortKey is a character string. When the characters are typed, the macro runs.
I asked the client to invent a two- to four-letter "code" for each target folder. She chose adm for d:\...\...\Administration, cc for d:\...\...\Current Clients, and so on. I made six ShortKey macros using the comma as a prefix.
When a "Save As..." dialog box appears, the "File Name:" field has keyboard input focus. The client types a code. The macro sends backspaces (to delete the code), types the full path name, and sends the Enter key.
For example, the code
is replaced by
c:\Documents and Settings\j_jones\My Documents\Administration<Enter>
These macros run in less than a second.
The client "took" to the new macros immediately, and reported no difficulties memorizing the six codes. A week later, she estimated the macros were saving her 10 to 15 minutes per day, and were allowing her to work longer without painful flare-ups. In addition, she began using the same macros to switch folders when opening files.
The cost of labour to develop the six macros was $65, not including the cost of Macro Express, which the company had already purchased.