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116

I'm the guy who did all the prototyping on Google Instant, and I attended >90% of the user studies we conducted at Google. (and I'm going to try not to be biased!) We went through several iterations of prototypes based on our internal testing. What we found worked really well with the current implementation was that study participants either (1) saw the ...


77

Like most the other keys, the space bar is marked with the glyph of the character it makes.


67

Because of: Familiarity: Everyone has more or less learned to use it and a lot of users don't even need to take a look at at individual keys to type. Although not physically, it's present and has the same layout across devices. Usefulness: You can perform an incredible HUGE variety of task just with a keyboard. Accessibility: It provides an accessible ...


62

This wise question has its answer in Wikipedia (here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_bar), from which the above photography has been taken. According to it, the Space Bar Key has evolved from something that we would rather call a lever nowadays: the "bar" was literally that, a metal bar running across the full width of the keyboard (or even wider, ...


55

History The Caps lock key origins are in the Shift lock key found on old mechanical typewriters. An early innovation with these typewriters was the introduction of a second character per type bar - the metal stamper hitting against the ink ribbon. The shift key practically shifted the whole type apparatus so it is the second set (capital set for letter ...


51

There's this humongous article called Keyboard Trivia that has collected many of the theories and stories. The summary of facts: Touch-tone key pad was designed to mimic the rotary dial with the "1" on top and the 7-8-9 on the bottom, and AT&T conducted user testing to confirm that this configuration helped eliminate dialing errors. By the time when ...


47

Because there is no feedback of the clipboard state. Pressing CTRL+C multiple times gives the guaranteed impression the right data is in the clipboard, just before the next action (CTRL+V, possible). CTRL+X does have visual feedback, as the data either disappears or changes view (in case of file). You are not the only one who does it.


42

Rewobs answer is already excellent, but for a deeper understanding it's valuable to consider what alternatives we have. Chorded keyboard Already in the mother of all demos in 1968 an alternative input device was proposed: the chorded keyboard (though the concept is even older). The idea is that instead of moving your fingers to dedicated keys one at a ...


39

This is largely a case of path dependency. Originally keyboards had to have a staggered layout to fit the mechanical linkages between the keys and the levers. After that, it was what industry was tooled up to make, and what people were used to. And there hasn't been a big enough change to typing to get most people to change over to a matrix (non ...


39

Well, you are, obviously, talking about the section of the keyboard whose main function is to write letters for words and sentences, because on the right side of the keyboard, both signs can be used without the shift key. Going back to your question, the difference is related to the different uses that the dash symbol has on normal writing and the lack of ...


31

Cant stand the thing. It's too slow It can sometimes take a good few seconds for the page to update. When it does, you've continued to type, but you have just seen the gem of a result.. but oh no, it's now rebuilding the list again based of the latest garble of text you've entered - and your gem is buried in the haystack once more It's very distracting ...


31

Good UX because they asked a lot more people than you did. :-) There's a great write-up on Google's blog. We knew it would take extensive testing to find the right design, so we ran through a sequence of prototypes, usability studies (testing with people from the community), dogfooding (testing with Google employees) and search experiments ...


27

Keyboards are still sold with numpads because there is a demand for them. Many people use them a lot (think any form of numeric data entry), and would have their work negatively impacted without the numpad there. That said, there are plenty of keyboards (both bluetooth and wired) that don't have a numpad. Another simple solution (if you're really ...


23

Ariel is on the right track. Uppercase letters are generally much more distinguishable from each other. L won't get mixed up with 1 or the lower case l, as Ariel mentioned. If you look around, you can find a mixture of upper and lowercase, but from the user perspective, typing in a mixture can be cumbersome. So to make it more user friendly, keep it in one ...


22

The answer is more trivial than you probably think - it's because h, j, k, l were respectively left, down, up, right arrows on the ADM-3A terminal which Bill Joy used when creating the original Vi [1]. [1] http://www.catonmat.net/blog/why-vim-uses-hjkl-as-arrow-keys/


21

Their usefulness scales beautifully with experience and developed skill Someone who knows only a little bit of numbers and letters can use a keyboard for a variety of tasks, even without knowing about the importance of the "shift key". As each button on the keyboard is labeled clearly with what each key will output when pressed, a person can guess quite ...


20

You could try to approach this with an, "tell them about better ways to do what they are doing when they do it" approach. For example, if I am selecting text and clicking bold, that is fine, but if I do that over and over maybe have a modeless (non disruptive, out of the way) notification that could say something like, "Did you know you can press ctrl-b to ...


20

Keyboard The Shift modifier is used for keyboard selection as well, and not just for single selection. No matter where you are, no matter how long the list, [Shift] + [END] selects everything from your current item focus to the end of the list, [Shift] + [PgDwn] one page (however that is defined). This also combines with the word jump of Ctrl where ...


19

In addition to the legacy already mentioned, it's intuitive for the spacebar to not have any label because it produces an empty space. In other words, an 'invisible' label is more representative of an 'invisible' character. The other keys on a keyboard either produce a visible character or perform some character/display modifying action. You could argue ...


18

It's actually due to ISO 9995. Depictions on the keytops According to ISO/IEC 9995-1, the level is indicated by the row where the character is depicted on the keytop: * Level 2 (“shifted”) above of Level 1 (“unshifted”) * Level 3 (“AltGr”) below Level 1 (“unshifted”). The group is indicated by the column on the keytop: * The first or ...


18

Since you asked for data, the following answer on skeptics stackexchange has good references to two studies which conclude that there is no net performance advantage to using swype over conventional touch keyboards: http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/a/26471 The two studies are here: http://m.pro.sagepub.com/content/56/1/1591.full.pdf ...


17

Fade out the edge that wraps (as well as leaving the button hanging over the edge so that it's clearer that there is more unseen content. Clearer because not only is what is off screen not visible but a little bit of what is on screen is not visible as well. Alternatively try and make out that it's like a conveyor belt or something that physically wraps ...


16

I believe much of the innovation over the next few years will be in things that avoid this type of input altogether (e.g. Voice, gesture, sensing). The progress in these areas signal that keyboards are inherently limited for some applications. Most of the variations in input are still based on the QWERTY layout. Products like SWYPE and Blackberry's new ...


16

Wikipedia seems to be popular with the information so far... :) So here's info from the history section of the page on caps lock The Caps Lock key is a modified version of the Shift lock key that occupies the same position on the keyboards of mechanical typewriters. An early innovation in mechanical typewriters was the introduction of a second ...


15

Because the numeric keypad is useful. I enter my numbers and calculations with the numeric keypad, it is much handier this way. If you are allergic to the numeric keypad, you can now get an Apple iMac with the metal small keyboard, without numeric keypad — Apple still makes full keyboards too.


14

I'll put in an answer myself here... (Hopefully this will inspire to submit more research links...) Searching the ACM digital library and a few other resources I found a few related articles. Categorization costs for hierarchical keyboard commands (2011) by Miller, Denkov and Omanson Summary Previous research comparing methods of issuing commands ...


14

Not a complete answer, but some thoughts about why drag-and-select is not so good. Dragging with a pressed mouse button is physically hard to do. You have to keep a constant pressure on the mouse button, and if it becomes too light, your work is undone. Too much pressure and the mouse can't glide well, and the cheap ones feel like they will fall apart in ...


14

Not all space bars are blank. I give you: Which, okay, doesn't so much have a "bar" as a "key".


14

Given your list Ctrl + B, Ctrl + U, Ctrl + I, to be consistent, if you want to convert the selected text to Upper / Lower case you should be using the Ctrl key (you also of course have Ctrl + C and Ctrl + X). I've seen this done using the Ctrl key in text editors, e.g. Notepad++ (as there is no underline) it is Ctrl + U for lowercase and Ctrl + Shift + U ...


14

There are a zillion bits of legacy code out there many of which have appropriated the "junk" keys for application purposes. You've not seen many of them because they are internal, mission-critical programs for which the cost of re-writing and re-training are huge. To the best of my knowledge you can still put a floppy into a modern windows machine, run the ...



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