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I'm noticing that the vast majority of laptops today have their Page Up and Page Down keys near (or on) the arrow keys, and the Home/End keys at the top-right (if not also on the arrow keys).

It seems hard to find a laptop like my old one -- my laptop from just a few years ago has a dedicated column of those keys on the right side, which is extremely handy since they're close to the arrow keys and require only 1 hand to operate, but aren't right next to the arrow keys, so wouldn't press them accidentally.

I'm confused what the benefit of placing those keys nere the bottom-right or top-right corner is.
Is there a UI reason behind it?

  • I know this does not answer the question, but here is a screenshot of Lenovo Yoga 2 keyboard ibb.co/VVWR14J. Screen 13.3 inches. Notice dedicated keys for Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, Print Screen, Insert and context menu. Also, no keys are compressed to 50% of their height. This is a backlit keyboard too. Unfortunately, Yoga2 is discontinued :-(. – Parag Doke Sep 16 '19 at 14:12
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Space is not the real issue at play here. Its the lack of practical usage testing by the keyboard designers. It seems like today's keyboard designers dont give importance to the HOME END Pg UP, Pg Dwn, keys. Had they given this a thought we would have seen more practical keyboards in today's laptops.

Event he companies are too soaked up in making thinner and lighter laptops that they have forgotten that to realise a laptop's full potential it also needs a keyboard that is well balanced and more practical when it comes to the placement of keys.

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The design of the keyboard was done in a very logical way keeping the most used keys in easy-to-reach positions while the lesser used ones in the remaining spaces.

(Obviously not all the keys are positioned the same way as there are many different ways of formats depending on language, typing style, standards, etc. Refer to this article.)

The same was true with the grouping of the keys as well.

With the modern day laptops, space isn't luxuriously available and most of them do not have the numpad.

keyboard size chart

Note that most laptops nowadays are either of the 60% or the 80% size. Imagine having to fit all (or the most used) keys in that much space. Not to mention dedicated OS keys and Fn key. Even in this case, the approach is to keep the most used keys in the reachable areas.

The arrow keys are directional in nature and are used to scroll/move. Same is true for Page Up and Page Down. Hence, they placed next to the arrow keys while Home, Delete, Insert and End are placed on the right-top.

Also, it avoid accidental keypress of destructive keys like Delete and End

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  • I feel like you answered everything except the question that was actualy asked. "While Home, Delete, Insert, and End are placed on top"... but the question is why? On a normal keyboard Page Up and Page Down are next to Home and End, so why do they separate them on a laptop instead of adding an extra column to keep them together like my previous laptop did? – user541686 Aug 28 '17 at 10:07
  • The last two paragraphs are the answer to why. The reason why it isn't that way in the older (and larger) keyboards is because of availability of space. Which I have mentioned as well – Shreyas Tripathy Aug 28 '17 at 10:21
  • Right, I saw your paragraphs but the part about Page Up/Down being directional didn't make sense since it's not like that changed in newer laptops. Delete also seemed irrelevant since I wasn't asking about it, and End isn't dangerous. Interestingly though, I didn't actually think there was a size difference since they were both 14" laptops, but you're right, the older one (just 4 years old) is slightly wider. However, the one I'm comparing it to is literally 1 year younger than that (it's 3 years old) and it has around 1" of space on each side, so is it really a lack of space that's the issue? – user541686 Aug 28 '17 at 10:42
  • You'll also have to consider travel. The newer laptops flaunt lesser finger travel which allows the users to be able to access all the keys without moving their hands at all. As far as the Delete key is concerned, I mentioned it as it is part of the set of 6 action keys and now that you mention, I believe End is not longer used to break running programs anymore – Shreyas Tripathy Aug 28 '17 at 11:45

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