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Questions tagged [keyboard]

physical interface for entering text character by character.

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136 votes
7 answers
56k views

Why do numpads on keyboards and phones have reversed layouts?

I came across this on the web. It's supposed to be funny, but we all know better :) So, why are the numpad layouts different, and what are the reasons behind each?
Vitaly Mijiritsky's user avatar
97 votes
15 answers
11k views

Is Google Instant good or bad UX? [closed]

For power users, it clearly saves time in some circumstances. It also jumps around alot and does things that are very different than before. One person said it is like a guy who finishes your ...
Glen Lipka's user avatar
  • 11.7k
93 votes
8 answers
77k views

Why Ctrl + C for copy but not Ctrl + P for paste?

Why was the Ctrl + C key sequence selected for copying text, however Ctrl + P was not selected for paste in Windows?
MCG's user avatar
  • 1,011
90 votes
3 answers
40k views

Why are keyboard keys staggered?

In every keyboard that I have used, the keys are arranged so that the keys are staggered a small increment to the left from the previous row. Q is above and slightly to the left of A, and A is above ...
mdkess's user avatar
  • 1,049
83 votes
7 answers
189k views

Why do modern keyboards have Scroll Lock?

The Scroll Lock key is useless in the modern day, and some higher-end keyboards don't even have it: Same can be said for the Pause and Break keys, but however it pauses the BIOS POST output on many ...
AStopher's user avatar
  • 974
75 votes
7 answers
15k views

Why does the Caps Lock not toggle upper and lower case for selected text?

In most word processors, you can easily toggle many text styles. For example: Ctrl + B - Will bold or un-bold selected text. Ctrl + U - Will underline or un-underline selected text. Ctrl + I - Will ...
user avatar
62 votes
11 answers
19k views

Why do most smartphones not have a physical keyboard?

The vast majority of smartphones sold today use a 'bar' or 'slate' form-factor, with a large screen which uses an on-screen keyboard. Blackberry are the one obvious manufacturer who still produce ...
Midas's user avatar
  • 6,629
58 votes
8 answers
11k views

Why doesn't the space bar have anything written on it?

All the key on the keyboard have something written on them which more or less describes their functionality, except for, traditionally, the Space bar. Why don't the majority of keyboard space bar ...
Bleeding Fingers's user avatar
50 votes
6 answers
19k views

Are there any recent studies of the "Keyboard vs Mouse"-issue?

Back in the late 80's, Apple Human Interface concluded that the mouse is faster than the keyboard, objectively. But also that every test person subjectively thought that the keyboard was faster. ...
Jørn E. Angeltveit's user avatar
49 votes
15 answers
18k views

Why are keyboards still the predominant input device? [closed]

While reading about the history of the computer keyboard I was a little surprised to hear that it is still the primary interface between humans and computers... Despite the development of ...
DaveAlger's user avatar
  • 15.9k
48 votes
6 answers
8k views

On a US keyboard why is + shifted but - isn't?

I am wondering why standard US keyboards allow you to type - by simply hitting the key, but the + button right next to it needs the Shift key. The default for that key is = and not a minus symbol. + ...
Keavon's user avatar
  • 1,704
45 votes
3 answers
10k views

What's the point of deactivating Num Lock on login screens? [closed]

Many login screens automatically deactivate the Num Lock key on the keyboard before the user can enter their password. This is extremely frustrating for the user as they involuntarily type their ...
Klangen's user avatar
  • 551
35 votes
5 answers
4k views

For a command to increase something, should instructions refer to the "+" key or the "=" key?

Our software uses the =/+ and -/_ keys for opposite tasks. For example, increasing or decreasing a value, or zooming in or out. No modifier keys are used. Here is the conundrum: If we refer to it as ...
Maxpm's user avatar
  • 453
33 votes
4 answers
12k views

Why CTRL + C multiple times [duplicate]

I have recently noticed that I press CTRL + C more than once, even if I know that the file has been copied to the clipboard. But I press CTRL + X or CTRL + V only once. Why do I do this? Is this ...
Bhavesh's user avatar
  • 433
31 votes
6 answers
16k views

Delay on keystroke when search as you type

I'm deploying an instant search on my Windows app. At the first implementation, when the user types a key, the search engine makes a query and returns the results. I thought that that wasn't too ...
dbalboa's user avatar
  • 485
30 votes
11 answers
16k views

How to improve the smartphone keyboard layout?

I have loads of problems with the small keys on my smartphone as my fingers cover them completely. I guess most people have the same problem. The Qwerty keyboard layout was designed for ten-finger ...
GUI Junkie's user avatar
  • 1,769
30 votes
9 answers
36k views

Should I use the name "Enter" or "Return" key?

I'm trying to list the what various keys do inside the documentation for my CLI program, but I'm not sure what to refer to this key as. It is commonly referred to as either Enter or Return, but which ...
ananaso's user avatar
  • 402
30 votes
6 answers
3k views

What is the best way to get users to discover and learn keyboard shortcuts

In a mouse driven desktop application, with a ribbon style interface and which has no menubar, what is the best way for users to learn about the shortcuts and accelerators which can help a user work ...
Roger Attrill's user avatar
28 votes
4 answers
2k views

Keyboard number row ordering

On a typical keyboard, why is the 0 in the number row next to the 9 instead of the 1? This seems like a question which should have a straight-forward answer, but the only one I could find is this ...
Bobson's user avatar
  • 610
27 votes
9 answers
8k views

Controlling movement direction in isometric view

In an isometric view, floor tiles would be aligned diagonally. On this view, an entity can be moved to adjacent tiles, as illustrated by the green arrows. Since the movement is diagonal (to the ...
Lars Ebert-Harlaar's user avatar
25 votes
14 answers
28k views

Why do physical keyboards still have built-in numpads?

Normally I use a wireless keyboard without a number pad and a mouse right next to it. Having started a new job, I was finding my right arm somewhat more sore. This was confusing until I realized: ...
enderland's user avatar
  • 712
20 votes
6 answers
5k views

Why are the keys on a keyboard square?

Some of the keys on a keyboard are rectangular in shape, and the Enter key is often a strange shape, but the majority of keys are square. But there could be other possible shapes for those keys. For ...
Tiffypeirsim's user avatar
18 votes
5 answers
10k views

Why does the caps lock key have a down arrow as its icon?

The caps lock key has a downwards arrow like this as its icon on most keyboards: Isn't that hugely counter intuitive and inconsistent with the way the Shift key is designed like? One would imagine ...
iFreilicht's user avatar
18 votes
5 answers
17k views

Is there a logical alternative for the Escape key?

I have a game that can be played in your browser. It's a retro game (multiplayer snake) and the menus and your snake can only be controlled using your keyboard. Mouse input is ignored. I was using ...
Blaise's user avatar
  • 283
17 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is Shift+Click for item selection a historical mistake?

I recently encountered a proof of concept demonstration which used the mouse to "drag and select" multiple items in a list. The current, widely accepted solution for multiple item selection is to ...
anthonyryan1's user avatar
  • 1,034
17 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why is the caps lock key often so big on a keyboard?

It seems that the caps lock key is not a frequently used key on a computer keyboard yet on all the keyboards I have used, it is afforded a significant amount of interface real estate, often as much as ...
Toni Leigh's user avatar
  • 7,838
16 votes
4 answers
9k views

Touch versus trace typing

Do you think trace typing (as provided by apps like Swype and SwiftKey, and now integrated in many smartphones UI) can replace touch typing? Any data on typing speed with this new input method? I was ...
jak123's user avatar
  • 266
16 votes
3 answers
2k views

Normative ordering for modifier key combinations

When indicating valid key modifier combinations to users, is there a "correct" or normative order in which to describe them? For instance, if you wanted the user to press shift and control and alt and ...
Mishax's user avatar
  • 1,181
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

How should keyboard mnemonics be localized?

Is there a standard approach to localizing (internationalize) keyboard mnemonics? For example, in Windows Notepad in English, if the user types Alt+E then P, the Edit menu opens and then the Paste ...
Peter Tseng's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

What's the Best Interface for Entering Canadian Postal Codes on a Smartphone Keyboard?

Typical smartphone keyboards are modal. There is usually a basic QWERTY/Basic punctuation keyboard by default that can be switched to numeric/extended punctuation mode. This works reasonably well ...
Chris Cudmore's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
3k views

Designing bidi text editing

Background. "Bidi" refers to the bidirectional text, that is a text where traditional left-to-right scripts are intermixed with right-to-left ones, such as Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, Thaana, etc. Such ...
Pasha's user avatar
  • 2,119
15 votes
3 answers
11k views

Should we include a "Back to top" button for mobile websites?

When building a mobile web site that needs to be accessible — do you consider it to be best practice to include a "Back to top" anchor link in a footer menu for long pages? I'm thinking about those ...
Tony Bolero's user avatar
  • 7,304
14 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why do keyboard keys have (most) letters in top left corner?

I was just looking at my keyboard (Logitech K200) for the millionth time and realized that the names of each key were "mostly" in the top left. The row of numbers at the top is just left aligned with ...
supersam654's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Should 'ABC' keyboard layout be used in single-purpose devices?

I have noticed, that some (well, quite many!) single-purpose devices (like: GPS for a car or some photo frames) use 'ABC' keyboard layout as default one, instead of the (local) standard QWERTY. And in ...
Dominik Oslizlo's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why are product keys always uppercase?

As the title says, is there a specific reason for why products keys are (almost) always in uppercase? Does it serve a purpose? Here's what I mean by a product key: ABCD-1234-EFGH-5678-IJKL Why ...
SameOldNick's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
8k views

Behavior of the Enter button in a form

What is a better experience for a user if they press enter when using a form? Should it submit the form or move to the next field?
Lee's user avatar
  • 187
13 votes
4 answers
11k views

Why are keyboards, mice designed to make sound when pressed and clicked?

Why are PC keyboards designed to be audible when they are pressed? That, IMHO, is a totally unnecessary thing as it generates noise that might disturb a peer who is studying nearby. The other thing ...
Abraham Guchi's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why do the iPhone and iPad keyboards use different shades of gray for the keys and background?

I noticed when working with iPhone and iPad keyboards that they are quite a significantly different colour: Is there any particular reason for this?
fredley's user avatar
  • 6,204
13 votes
6 answers
8k views

Making mega-menus accessible for keyboard users

Here's the situation. A large corporate site has a mega-menu in the primary navigation. The secondary-level page areas are available from within this dropdown (in this example the secondary levels are ...
JonW's user avatar
  • 37.4k
12 votes
5 answers
6k views

Why are there no arrow keys on most mobile on-screen keyboards?

When typing on smartphones or tablets it is very cumbersome to move the cursor to a different position. Why is it that the onscreen keyboards on these devices usually don't have left/right arrow ...
udango's user avatar
  • 121
12 votes
2 answers
8k views

Is there any research available about the speed of working with a mouse vs. working with a trackpad?

I ask this because of a friend who never hooks up a mouse to his laptop because he claims he can work just as fast with a trackpad as with a mouse. My personal experience is the other way around. I ...
Thorsal's user avatar
  • 387
11 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why most websites don't use keyboard shortcuts?

I was wondering that why websites don't use keyboard shortcuts as often as desktop software tends to. I really like keyboard shortcuts in software, they makes me work more efficiently. But why don't ...
LiJung's user avatar
  • 213
10 votes
7 answers
1k views

How should I indicate an added row of buttons above the iPad's keyboard is scrollable?

In my iOS app, I have an extra toolbar that appears above the keyboard, using the same style of buttons as the keyboard. This toolbar is horizontally scrollable. Currently, in all devices and ...
fredley's user avatar
  • 6,204
10 votes
2 answers
5k views

Is it good to change keyboard's input language automatically in JavaScript?

In some websites, there are forms to be filled by the end-user. In multilingual contexts, some developers try to change the input language of the keyboard or hook to the field that should be filled ...
Saeed Neamati's user avatar
10 votes
7 answers
21k views

Dedicated buttons for Copy/Paste on keyboards [closed]

Given that many people (myself included) use these functions a lot, wouldn't it make sense to have two keys that would replace Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V in modern keyboards?
Maria Ines Parnisari's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
603 views

Most intuitive keyboard shortcut for search & replace dialog

Extending the question on askubuntu what would be the most intuitive solution for the Search & Replace and maybe Find dialog? Ctrl H -- Gnome, Windows Ctrl R -- KDE Ctrl F -- Mac OS Which others ...
type's user avatar
  • 245
10 votes
2 answers
12k views

Why Greek letter mu (μ) on European keyboards?

AZERTY-style keyboard layouts in France and Belgium have a dedicated key for typing the Greek small letter mu (μ). While not having a dedicated (μ) key, keyboards in Germany, Denmark, Finland, Iceland,...
Mishax's user avatar
  • 1,181
9 votes
5 answers
2k views

Keyboard shortcut keys for Tabs?

In the below web UI if I interact via keyboard keys, which are the right keys used for tabs(General/Firewall/Privacy) navigation? a) Tab key b) Left,Right arrow keys c) Left, Right, Top & ...
Pradeep's user avatar
  • 3,004
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Hangman game on mobile - Qwerty or alphabetical keyboard

I'm building a hangman game as part of a bigger mobile educational application. As you know for hangman you select letters and see if they are part of the word or sentence. I'm trying to decide if I ...
TomDoes's user avatar
  • 2,315
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is there a universally recognizable, OS agnostic glyph for the Super key?

The reason I'm asking is trivial, but I can't come up with a better place to ask. I bought a keyboard that has Super keys with the vendor logo printed on them. I've been meaning to replace them with ...
droopysinger's user avatar

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