Douglas Engelbart, a Xerox PARC engineer, invented the mouse and cursor in the 1960s. Engelbart designed the cursor as an arrow pointing up.

Then how did the tilt happen? 

It was difficult to make out a tiny vertical line on low-resolution displays back in the 60s. 

This led Xerox PARC to come up with a 45° tilted cursor in 1973, making it more recognizable than a straight cursor.

But there was more to it than just visibility issues — The straight cursor pointed at nothing in particular and would hide more of what’s underneath.

You may think that the world has entered a 4K and ultra HD era. Why do we still need the tilt?

Well, it’s all about efficiency.

The angled cursor is important because it directs the eye towards a focal point within the screen. The pointer follows your lead. It knows where to point and CLICK!

Our eyes and brains are now used to the tilted cursor. Changing the cursor again will be extremely redundant.

Now that you know the answer, don’t forget to make design choices that can improve efficiency and usability, making people’s lives as easy as a click.