Re: FYI: A new international keyboard layout based on the German standard layout

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Wed Jul 05 2006 - 10:04:36 CDT

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    Erkki Kolehmainen <erkki dot kolehmainen at kotus dot fi> wrote:

    > I personally find this layout very hard to comprehend. I believe that
    > a European, multilingual general purpose keyboard should be
    > intuitively recognizable and - consequently - easy to learn and use.
    > In the Finnish Kotoistus Initiative we have developed a new
    > multilingual keyboard layout based on the de facto keyboard that is
    > currently in most common use in Finland and Sweden...

    A major problem with trying to design a pan-European (or
    pan-Latin-script) keyboard layout is that people in different cultures
    tend to prefer a layout based on the one they are accustomed to.
    Broadly speaking, the English like QWERTY, the French like AZERTY, the
    Germans like QWERTZ. It gets even more fragmented when you consider
    non-alphanumeric symbols: the standard American and British layouts are
    quite different here. Studies conducted for the purpose of designing
    keyboard standards have proven this over and over.

    For U.S. English, where single and double quotes can precede vowels,
    keyboards that require the user to press the space bar between the two
    to avoid dead-key behavior generally meet with some resistance. For
    programmer types, it gets worse as tildes and backquotes can also appear
    in "ordinary" text.

    The layout I've built for myself is based on Microsoft's "U.S.
    International" keyboard, but relegates the dead keys to the AltGr and
    Shift+AltGr levels (and adds a lot more of them). I have no illusion
    that this layout would catch on in the rest of the world. Certainly,
    though, if I give some keys up to seven different meanings (as Karl has)
    I could fit many, many more characters onto it.

    Doug Ewell
    Fullerton, California, USA

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