Re: Optimus keyboard

From: Adam Twardoch (
Date: Sun Apr 29 2007 - 15:37:50 CST

  • Next message: Behnam: "Re: Optimus keyboard"

    Behnam wrote:
    > Optimus keyboard is particularly useful for those who have
    > multilingual use. Particularly those who don't use other languages
    > frequently enough to memorize the location of characters on the
    > keyboard. For the rest of us, it's just a fancy shiny device that
    > provides no performance advantages whatsoever.
    The greatest advantage of the Optimus keyboard is not about inputting
    text but about operating the computer as a whole. Currently, the user
    has to use the mouse perform various tasks, and only power-users use
    keyboard shotcuts to evoke some operations, because the user needs to
    memorize the keyboard shortcuts and their functions.

    Pressing buttons is a very natural operation for the user. Using the
    mouse to navigate on an artificial "desktop" and press virtual buttons
    (i.e. the icons) is an extra level of complexity: instead of using your
    fingers to press buttons, you're using your hand to navigate a virtual
    finger to press virtual buttons.

    If you compare the speed of typing using the real keyboard vs. the speed
    of typing when an on-screen keyboard operated by the mouse is used, we
    instantly realize that typing on the real keyboard is faster and better.
    Analogically, pressing real buttons with the real finger should be
    better than pressing virtual buttons using a virtual finger operated by
    the mouse. Instead of pressing "Ctrl+W" to close a tab, people will
    simply press "Close tab" or "Ctrl+Close tab". It's like the F1-F10
    function keys but better. Instead of having to remember that F1 invokes
    Help, the user will simply be able to press a button named Help.

    And obviously, each application will be able to "paint" the keyboard
    buttons according to its own needs and the functionality offered.

    Johannes Bergerhausen wrote:
    > But the concept of having some sort of soft buttons
    > (like on the forthcoming iPhone) instead of hard buttons fixed
    > in plastic could be a good idea for multilingual users.
    The problems of "soft buttons" is that they're not as palpable as "hard
    buttons". A good keyboard button is optimized to offer a perfectly
    comfortable sensory response (audible and palpable). With enough
    feedback coming through the eyes and the fingers, the human can lay the
    eyes on something else.

    With an on-screen virtual keyboard, even on a touch screen, this comfort
    is not there. When pressing onto touchscreen "buttons", you need to look
    carefully where you are pressing. On a keyboard made of real buttons,
    it's much easier to navigate with your fingers. One should remember that
    the sensory abilities of human fingers are very high, so touching feeds
    a lot of information into one's brain. A combined look-and-feel user
    interaction is much better than one only based on looking.


    Adam Twardoch
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