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Posts: 1,102 | Thanked: 5,643 times | Joined on Feb 2010 @ Holland
#1
To run parallel to this thread, how would the perfect QWERTY OtherHalf keyboard look like? What materials, colors, shapes and sizes are the best?

3 rows? 4 rows? Numpad? Arrow-keys like the N810? Slide-out? Swing out? Magnets?

This thread is all about design and brainstorming, let's get some ideas together and iron out the details later!

Selection of the ugliest keyboards in the world:

Leather maybe? *UGLY*

Blue? *UGLY*

'Ergonomic'? *UGLY*

Last edited by dirkvl; 2014-08-05 at 15:53.
 

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#2
As Dave says. Clam shell preferable to slide or swing out.
 

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#3
The E7 keyboard will do!
 

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#4
The "ergonomic" Motorola keyboard really has nothing to do with decent ergonomics. Look at your hands. When holding a Qwerty phone between your palm bottoms, your thumbs do not move in the direction of the curved key rows of the Motorola keyboard. So it looks that it was designed by an arts designer and no expert of ergonomics. Besides, it and the blue keyboard are examples of English-only keyboards which are more or less impossible to localize to other languages - there are too few keys.
For some tablets are available virtual split keyboard where the key rows are matched with the natural thumb movements: on circular arches, the centers of which are near the corners of the tablet screen. But those keyboard substitutes cannot be called ergonomic, because of other reasons, such as the fact that its keys are only virtual keys on a touch screen.
But does the 4 or 5-way rocky key in the center of the Motorola keyboard make its ergonomics acceptable? Hardly. I've found it a lot more natural and easier to use four arrow keys than streching my thumbs a quite long way to the center of the keyboard. Besides the use of 4 arrows keys is a more standard way: they can be used like on full-size keyboards.

Last edited by Egon; 2013-10-07 at 12:00. Reason: Analogy of 4 arrow keys with full-size Qwerty added
 
Posts: 1,102 | Thanked: 5,643 times | Joined on Feb 2010 @ Holland
#5
Originally Posted by Egon View Post
So it looks tha it was designed by an arts designer and no expert of ergonomics. Besides, it and the blue keyboard are examples of English-only keyboards which are more or less impossible to localize to other languages - there are too few keys.
These were the ugliest keyboards I could find in 5 min, but they get the conversation started
 

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#6

This keyboard layout looks acceptable: there are enough keys for the localizing of most languages. For example, the of the German language and the of the Swedish and some other languages can be put to their standard keys: on the right-thumb side of the P and L keys.

The layout could be improved a bit by adding a 2nd shift key. Perhaps a single key is enough for Fn and Sym as well as Ctrl, which would replace the "Command" keys of Apple computers in the picture. And is the CapsLock really needed? On full-size keyboards it causes constant trouble, because it is too near the Shift key, and therefore is hit too easily by accident. I'd prefer seeing the Tab key instead of the CapsLock key. If the CapsLock function is done on virtual keyboards with double-tapping on the Shift key, it may be easier to apply the same functionality also on the HW Qwerty. With these omissions, for a compromise layout, it may be possibles to reduce the number of key columns from 13 to 12. But please remember that the Ctrl key is a must!

Although the above picture may not represent any real keyboard, you dirkvl could consider adding its picture to the root message, with this title: Full

Last edited by Egon; 2013-10-09 at 10:14. Reason: Link changed to picture, importance of Sym key raised
 

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#7
This is what I regard as ideal Qwert* keyboards:
- Slides out from the longer edge of Jolla (the phone is carried on rails above the keyboard), like on Nokia N810 and N900
- Keyboard width is determined by the width of the Jolla phone (in landscape orientation)
- Keys have a spherical shape, sufficiently outbowing: a bit more outbowing than on Nokia E7. Acceptable shapes of keys are found on Nokia N900 and E70.
- Key labels in 2 or 3 colors, background-illuminated
- At least one Shift, Ctrl, Fn and Sym key, perhaps also the Tab key
- Four arrow keys are a must. In language-localized variants their number must not be less than 4 (unfortunately on many localized N900 keyboards the ArrowUp is made with Sym+ArrowLeft and ArrowDown is made with Sym+ArrowRight, which is too impractical). Besides, the removal of the ArrowUp and ArrowDown keys ruin the use of keyboard shortcuts.
- When you slide the HW Qwerty in, you can continue using the virtual keyboard on touch screen, using practically the same key sequencies. To achieve this, there could be sticky Shift and Ctrl keys on the virtual keyboard. For easy text selection and cursor movements, 4 arrow keys are useful also on virtual keyboards. For example, if you have tapped on an arrow key after the Shift key, the Shift will remain sticky until you tap again on the Shift key, or make an operation which cancels the text-selection. Perhaps the arrow keys of the virtual keyboard can be omitted if the selection of text can be done easily, like with the Opera Mobile browser (but please do not mimic the miserable virtual keyboard of Opera!). I must admit, however, that beginners may regard the Editing Layer of the Swype keyboard as more user friendly than the shortcuts with sticky modifier keys - but keyboard shortcuts are quicker to use.
- To allow easy keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl + Shift + ArrowRight on HW Qwerty, please examine whether one or more of the Ctrl, Shift and Sym keys can be made to work as a sticky key (for keyboard shortcuts, the Sym key would have the same functionality as the Alt key on full-size Qwerty keyboards)
- To save space for other keys, spacebar should not be made wider than the sum of 2 or 3 adjacent keys.
- No excessively large keys. Yes, you can hit the Shift, Backspace and Enter keys with no problems even though they are not bigger than letter keys, if their shape is outbowing enough.
- Keys arranged like on chessboard. Although by tilting the key columns you can make the keyboard look more like a full-size keyboard, such a trick does not help: its use with two thumbs will remain totally different from how you enter text on a full-size Qwerty keyboard.
- Put Y-H-N (etc) keys in the same vertical key columns. It will help enormously those who are accustomed to 10-finger touch-typing on full-sized keyboards - they will know subconsciously where each key is located if columns are arranged correctly, even though naturally you cannot "10-finger touch-type" on two-thumb keyboards. This naturally applies to other key columns (T-G-B, U-J-M etc).
- The number of key rows depends on how much the keyboard slides from below the phone. I regard 4 rows as minimum. The Z X C V B N M keys should not be on the lowermost row of keys - it is best to use it for modifier keys like Shift, Fn, Sym etc. If there is not enough space for 5 rows, then numbers are entered as the combinations of the Fn and the topmost keys.

Last edited by Egon; 2013-10-12 at 16:17. Reason: "perhaps Sym..." changed to "Sym needed.."
 

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#8
Egon basically had all the good ideas, so only thing I have to add is a good/bad(?) example of how not to do possible production of the keyboard...

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...rce-controller
I expected it to be late of the original estimate, but this is bit ridiculous. Even though these are the people that are the creators of the Pandora console. Let's see if I get mine before my Jolla...
 

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#9
e7/n950 keyboard all the way!
 

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#10
Okay, but can the n950's keyboard be improved? I would personally love to have a keyboard with brushed aluminium keys like the asus zenbooks!

Or... The Lauta... What could have been! To hell with metal and black keyboards!

Last edited by dirkvl; 2013-10-07 at 21:15.
 

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