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The app runs on a basic handscanner- tiny screen, physical keyboard with English letters and numbers.

For 95% of user interactions, the flow is standard happy-path, no keyboard or screen interaction is needed. But for the 5%, there are menus to click through for the user to indicate the problem. The menus suck to work with (touch screens from 5 years ago, oh boy) so hotkeys were added- just press 'F' to do 'Foo', and 'B' to do 'Bar'.

The issue is that this app runs in many countries, some of which don't even use Latin alphabets. Our users often speak little to no English. There, we see fewer users using the hotkeys, and more incidents of the wrong hotkey being used. They want other options. Our suspicion is that the fact that the hotkeys are English-based is creating a barrier.

How does one localize hotkeys?

Notes:

-There really isn't a business case to be made for replacing all the keyboards on the units for this reasoning.

-The hardware we're using will be replaced by something new in the next few years, so we can't choose an option that is based on any specific hardware.

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1 Answer

  1. Isn't there still a standard QWERTY keyboard involved? (with their local language characters shown on each key)

  2. Is your software already localized? You mentioned some users do not speak English. How are they using the software then?

The best idea I can come up with is, providing ability for users to assign their hot keys, including number and F-keys, so you don't have to figure out which hotkey would work the best in which country.

Also, don't forget the power of function keys. One overlooked benefit of F1-F12 keys is that they are grouped in 4, and away from the rest of the keys. This is is a powerful mnemonic device that lets you memorize and execute functions based on muscle memory.

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