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Is there a database or extensive guide on existing keyboard shortcuts or conventions for UX developers?

Could be useful to:

  • avoid keyboard shortcut conflicts with existing software that will be frequently used simultaneously with an in-dev software
  • define keyboard shortcuts that are easy to memorize; e. g.:
    • modifier/letter relates to action
    • combination follows some kind of system, pattern or hierarchy
    • performs a similar action in already known software
  • create shortcuts that can be typed quickly and comfortably
    • the fewer buttons the better
    • no finger-twisters
    • fit to the workflow (e. g. ⌘C and ⌘V are in proximity and arranged from left to right)
  • have more clarity about how to define the scope of a shortcut (global vs. only on active app window)
  • achieve better cross-plattform compatability (macOS, Windows, iPadOS)
  • enhance accessibility

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The main thing you need to be careful of are the OS shortcuts.

Going against those will likely result in double action, or catastrophic behavior (Alt+F4).

Outside of that, it really doesn't matter too much. General knowledge of shortcut conventions ends fairly quickly after Ctrl+X/C/V and Ctrl+Z.

Aside from the most common shortcuts, it really is more helpful to go by what makes sense in-app. For example, the Bold/Italics/Underline group in MS Word is shown as B/I/U in UI and gets the shortcuts Ctrl+B/I/U. However, in German, Fett/Kursiv/Unterstrichen are represented with F/K/U, so the English shortcuts wouldn't make much sense for German users. Therefore German versions of Word use Ctrl+Shift+F/K/U instead.

Copying shortcuts from other apps can be helpful if you're building a direct competitor to something already existing and want to encourage people with a muscle memory to switch, but if you're looking to attract people new to your field, creating new shortcuts which make sense in your own app is typically better.

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  • As far as I know, with Unix/Linux it is the very complicated question. Cause of existing the plenty applications and alternative Desktop/widows systems.
    – Tom Newton
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 12:58

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