Video games often allow the player to configure mouse sensitivity. What is the most intuitive way to represent this setting in the user interface?

  1. What should the option be called?
  2. If it is numerical:
    1. Should high values represent high sensitivity or low sensitivity?
    2. What should the range be?
    3. How many decimal places should it have?
  3. Optionally: what alternative widgets might be a more intuitive fit for the setting than a numeric control?

I am asking this because in the free software video game Blackvoxel the setting is represented in a way that surprised me: 0.5 is twice as sensitive as 1 which in turn is twice as sensitive as 2. This is the opposite of what I expected.

The setting is currently called "mouse factor", has two decimal places and ranges from 0 to infinity

Given how common the mouse sensitivity setting is I assume there is published research on the optimal way to represent it.


I like the way Windows does it.

Pointer speed UI in windows

  1. I have seen it being called mouse sensitivity, mouse acceleration or pointer speed. I would call it mouse sensitivity.
  2. One reason I see for a numerical setting is so that the user can get a better feel for what the value does, e.g. choosing a sensitivity that is twice as high will lead to twice as strong effects. The other reason so that a user can more easily set the sensitivity to a value that she remembers being good ("I know 9.8 is a decent sensitivity"). I doubt that the last one is very likely. I would argue that you can choose an arbitrary range and scale as the user does not know what it represents: 0 to 100%; 0 to 500%; 0 to 10. Intuitively, I would say lower numbers should represent lower sensitivity, and higher numbers higher sensitivity.
  3. Range slider (as seen in the screenshot) is an easy and fast way to set the sensitivity. Especially when you can see the effects right after turning the range slider.

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