Saturday, July 08, 2006

The common sense computer keyboard

Look down. If you're reading this at a laptop computer, your keyboard is centered nicely in front of you, and when you type, your arms are comfortably in front of you, and the monitor is centered in your field of vision.

If you're reading this at a desktop computer, your keyboard is nicely centered as well, except that the keys that you use 99% of the time are offset to the left (with some arrow keys and number keys to the right.

Of course, that forces your hands and arms to shiflt left, making it very uncomfortable to type.

Years ago (pre-OSX), Autodesk made a keyboard called the Switchboard. Each section could be moved to the user's preferred position. It was an elegant design, and an excellent example of technology adapting to the user, rather than the user adapting to the technology.

Apple, Logitech, Macally, or even Kensington have overlooked the needs of the users. I would venture that the majority of users wouldn't mind the arrow keys on the left, or even the number pad, as long as the alph keys are centered so that the keyboard is easy to use.

I know, I know... I should design one and file for a patent. Maybe that's not such a bad idea. I've got the idea... Anybody with some spare cash and a desire for manufacturing?

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njyo said...

Sorry, no cash for manufacturing here. But, the interest of buying one (if not too expensive). I throw in my supporting customer voice!

Hope you find somebody for developing, and if you do, let us know on the blog. Good luck.

George said...

I have been using this keyboard for years:
Goldtouch Adjustable Keyboard

Eoghan McCabe said...

Why not simply move the keyboard to the right? :) Overall, the keyboard will be off-centre. But, the keys you really want and need (as opposed to the almost superfluous others), are nicely centred. As a side-affect, the (almost) superfluous ones are out of the way and won't interfere with your typing.

anonymouse said...

I use a
keyboard which sits in my lap. Moving the keyboard to a side works fine.

It's a model-M'ish keyboard, and it works far better than the average Logitech et al keyboard. Looks don't matter, keypress depth and tactile feedback do :).

India said...

But . . . why don't you just slide your keyboard a few inches to the right so that the alphabetic portion is centered?

As a right-handed person who uses the number pad often, and without looking, I would find it utterly useless on the left side of the keyboard. It might be nice to have a number pad on both sides, though . . .