Computers incorporate various pieces of equipment that allow the user to interact with the software. Since the idea of a Graphical User Interface (GUI) has been accepted, people rely on a mouse to move the 'cursor' around the screen. Most of the time the 'cursor' is simply an arrow that lets the user know where its position is on the screen. In addition to a mouse some people prefer trackballs. A mouse and a trackball can be contrasted in terms of their physical shape, logical functionality, and space consumption. A mouse and a trackball could be described as a total opposite in their physical shape.

The mouse received its name because the cord resembles a tail and can move around the workspace in any direction. The mouse also has a ball inside that rolls along the workspace. An electronic connection is also built inside the mouse itself to get power through the mouse in order to run. On the other hand, a trackball is named that because the user is able to move the position of the cursor around the screen using a ball. The ball is located on the topside of the trackball and movement is performed with the thumb instead of the whole hand that is easier and it consumes less time than using the whole hand.

Therefore, the mouse and the trackball are different in their shape but they both perform the same task. A trackball is stationary and therefore minimal; space is needed to allow movement while a mouse needs to move to perform its task. Both devices have buttons on the top, usually two or three depending on the manufacturer, that allows the user to select items on the screen, almost acting like an 'enter' button. After having experience with both devices, I have found the trackball is the choice to make when purchasing a user interface device of this type. While mice are easier for the beginning user to control due to the fact that a hand is easier to move in any direction compared to a thumb, a trackball does not require total hand and arm movement to move the cursor around the screen. Instead the user's hand can stay stationary and movement of the thumb is all that is needed to direct the cursor.

On the other hand, a user's thumb may be restricted to movement in any direction as quickly as a hand may move. Mice and trackballs are both used for the same reason and perform the same task. Mice need the ability to move and trackballs stay stationary. Trackballs are nice to use when limited space is available although not as precise movement can be made without practice. Mice are an average piece of equipment that needs some available workspace and even the beginning user can operate one with very little difficulty.