Ya: keyboard layout

Werner Almesberger werner at openmoko.org
Wed Jul 14 18:13:45 EDT 2010


I find the keyboard layout pretty nice for such a small device.
However, I think a few improvements could be made:

- consider removing the Qi button. There are several reasons for this.
  First of all, it may tempt developers into actually using it,
  immediately creating an application that can only be ported to
  platforms that have a similar vanity button. Second, I doesn't seem
  to do anything right now anyway. (But see below.) Third, once it's
  gone, you can ...

- enlarge the space bar. Not only does it feel weird to have it so
  small, but it also stops acting as a visual reference on the
  keyboard.

- are arrow-A (raised "o"), arrow-S (horizontal ":"), arrow-D (EUR),
  and arrow-comma (the non-ASCII "'") really necessary ? I.e., if
  turning them into dead-keys so that an accented "e" could be typed
  as arrow-comma followed by E, would that be more convenient than
  the common apostroph followed by E ?

- remove Caps Lock

- we still have a lot of modifiers. The arrow could disappear with
  the following changes:

  - remove the blue digits
  - send <, >, and ~ to the 1st or 2nd row
  - push everything that's red now in the Q and A rows down one row
  - use the ten buttons of the Q row for red-1 through red-0
  - remove the arrow and color fn red
  - maybe better, use blue instead of red. At least I find the blue
    much easier to read under dim light than the red.
  - if marketing insists on a vanity button, resurrect it where the
    red arrow has been

  Note that an extra modifier could be put to use for "Compose" or
  "Cycle". Compose would be an alternative to dead-keys. Instead of
  ['] wait [E] -> accented e, you'd hold [Compose], then type [']
  [E], release [Compose]. Cycle would be the cell-phone-like
  cycling through a list of characters. E.g., when pressing [E]
  while holding [Cycle], you'd get e-acute, e-aigu, e-grave, etc.

- maybe send "= +" somewhere else (with Caps Lock dead, we now
  have room in the 2nd row) and enlarge Enter

I think it could also be desirable to get rid of the function keys,
to keep the keyboard more compact and more regular, but I haven't
figured out how, without either bringing back a modifier or making
more drastic changes, such as rearranging the cursor keys.

- Werner




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