Re: Latin-script keyboard layout (was RE: Quick Question About Korean Input Methods)

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Sun Jan 03 2010 - 18:44:39 CST

  • Next message: Asmus Freytag: "Re: Latin-script keyboard layout (was RE: Quick Question About Korean Input Methods)"

    On 1/3/2010 4:08 PM, Michael Everson wrote:
    > On 3 Jan 2010, at 23:33, Marc Durdin wrote:
    >> Deadkeys are not 'intuitive', just familiar (kinda like QWERTY or
    >> dare I say AZERTY). They are an old compromise from typewriters.
    >> When you write diacritics with a pen, do you write them before or
    >> after the base letter? When you press a deadkey (on a Windows
    >> system), you get no visual feedback. So the naive user then presses
    >> the deadkey again. And gets *two* non-combining forms of the
    >> character. There is nothing intuitive about that.
    > Oh, nonsense. This argument holds no water. The Shift Key is just as
    > "non-intuitive". When you write letters with a pen, there is no Shift
    > Key for capital letters.
    On the contrary. The lack of visual input is a definite drawback in
    designing keyboard input for rarely used characters and by less than
    expert touch typists. Whether the comparison between using a pen or
    using a keyboard is salient or not, the fact remains that hidden states
    in user interfaces are suboptimal.
    >> Deadkeys are limited: they make some sense for combining diacritics.
    >> They make no sense for any other character.
    > This is completely untrue.
    As that is a matter of opinion, "truth" doesn't enter.
    > I made use of a variety of non-diacritic deadkeys in the Irish
    > keyboard I designed: A key I call "specials" allows me to access
    > ƣƿǝʀθȝʊɪɸ (qwertyuip) and əſẟɡɣƕƞĸɬ (asdfghjkl) and ʒχɔʌβŋɯ (zxcvbnm).
    > I use a number of these very frequently in medievalist and linguistic
    > work. Another Key I call hooks is there for pseudo-diacritics:
    > ʠỽꜥʈƭƴʋɩi҆ƥ (qwertyuiop) ꜣʃɗƒɠɦƙ (asdfghk) ȥɖƈɓɲ (zxcbn). And with
    > these two keys and alt I can access even more. ɑʍɹꞃꞇʏᵿᵻɤɸ ɐꞅꝺꝼᵹʰʲ№˚ꞁ
    > ɒᵈˠᵇꝿ. This is useful, mnemonic, and a great use of keyboard technology.
    The more you use these for things other than a few well understood
    diacritics, the more the lack of user feedback is a liability of the
    methodology. A good user-interface lets naive users discover (and
    recover from) the results of striking a novel key combination. For
    someone intimately familiar with the design of such a layout (the
    designer) such drawbacks may not amount to flaws. The casual user is
    better served by some other form of input technology that allows the
    gradual transition from visually presented choices to keyboard shortcuts
    as the technique is mastered (or for the subset of most frequently used
    "special" characters.
    >> But even for combining diacritics they are not great. Typing the
    >> diacritic after the letter* makes much more sense. Things are even
    >> worse for multiple combining diacritics.
    > Just an assertion.
    As is your implied counter assertion.
    > And yes, my keyboard does allow me to type multiple diacritics after
    > letters, where necessary. But deadkeys are much more convenient for
    > general typing (which I do regularly in a number of languages).
    Since we all know how far into the tail you are on any bell curve, your
    assertions about what suits you does not necessarily hold for any more
    average users. :)


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