15 votes

Why do we have both backspace and delete keys on most keyboards?

The functionality is not the same. The delete key keeps the cursor position in the same place. Backspace moves the cursor as it deletes. Without both keys, one would need to position the cursor to one ...
Rob's user avatar
  • 2,813
10 votes

Why are the keys on a keyboard square?

Keyboard design is largely governed by convention for many reasons: The QWERTY layout is what consumers want and expect Typing is so ubiquitous and so driven by muscle memory that the staggered ...
tohster's user avatar
  • 41k
10 votes

Why do we have both backspace and delete keys on most keyboards?

First of all they perform slightly different functions. The delete key erases text to the right of the cursor and the backspace key erases text to the left of the cursor. Also the delete key is ...
DesignerAnalyst's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Why do the Western European countries use the AZERTY keyboard? What is the historical origin of this layout?

How did the keyboard layouts develop historically? Did you have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AZERTY#History and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTY ? In the beginning, there was not a ...
Ángel's user avatar
  • 388
6 votes
Accepted

Why were Ctrl-Z and Ctrl-Y chosen as undo/redo shortcuts?

It is likely based on the key position of other commonly used actions (cut, copy, paste) on the keyboard. Likely it all boils down to placement on a QWERTY keyboard. [...] From there, X ...
Nick Groeneveld's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Can modern personal computer users do without a tab key?

No—I would definitely recommend keeping the tab key. Tab keys are important for people with motor impairments, as these people often can't use a mouse and navigate around web pages using the tab key ...
Chloe's user avatar
  • 553
5 votes
Accepted

Why are the right- and left- quotation marks on iOS's keyboard reversed?

TL;DR: The distribution of the characters responds to the proximity of the upper keys to the finger and the frequency of use of the characters. I think it is because of the way the iOS keyboards ...
Alvaro's user avatar
  • 16.8k
3 votes

Can modern personal computer users do without a tab key?

You can, but you shouldn't. It's used for many things: indentation (Tab adds one, Shift+Tab removes one) coding - the Tab character may still be needed for compatibility, and inserting four spaces ...
Gugalcrom123's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Keyboard layout for (learning to / switching) hands

Flipping the keyboard is unlikely to be advantageous to someone forced to use their left hand. It's your brain that locates the keys to be pressed and coordinates your hand and finger into position. ...
Roux Martin's user avatar
  • 14.2k
3 votes

Why do some keyboards extend the Return key up into the backslash?

Answer by a European who has grown up entirely with keyboards that had a tall Return key: (hence read with full awareness that all of this may be based on what I'm used to) In a regular 10-fingers ...
O. R. Mapper's user avatar
  • 1,668
3 votes

Why do some keyboards extend the Return key up into the backslash?

The "big ass enter" as it's referred to in some keyboard enthusiast groups, is actually a relic from the PC AT era. The original IBM Model F AT has a layout like this with a 1U backspace and backslash ...
Canaan's user avatar
  • 31
2 votes

Why do some keyboards extend the Return key up into the backslash?

In the same way that you think it's reasonable to have a big backspace key.. same applies to the return key in my mind. That leads to put the backslash next to the left shift as in the UK ISO layout. ...
Raul's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes

Why are the keys on a keyboard square?

First, the question can be why the keyboard layout is staggered. The reason is typewriter construction. And for a typewriter, it did not make much sense to stagger it by half of the key width, as this ...
v6ak's user avatar
  • 121
2 votes
Accepted

Why do Chromebooks have an odd power button?

Actually when working as a tech reporter full-time I asked some Google and Chromebook-manufacturer product designers this question and the answer is pretty straightforward: Chromebooks aren't meant to ...
Jamezrp's user avatar
  • 2,788
2 votes

Universal or standard pattern of keyboard layout design

There have been a lot of studies on keyboard layout in the past 20 years. James Lewis of IBM has performed a lot of them. I was interested because I was in the business of designing mobile phone ...
Barbara Ballard's user avatar
2 votes

Universal or standard pattern of keyboard layout design

The current international standard layouts are all based on the staggered QWERTY type layout - We all recognise it as a keyboard for typing text into - so much so that it's often used as the icon for ...
Roux Martin's user avatar
  • 14.2k
2 votes

Can modern personal computer users do without a tab key?

This is really an issue of Standards and their reach, you want to use a non-standard keyboard layout. Forgoing standards will have consequences, such as sociability with software and hardware as well ...
straya's user avatar
  • 1,212
2 votes

Can modern personal computer users do without a tab key?

The tab key is a bit weird as it serves a lot more functions than most other keys: It inserts a tab into text. In the context of programming, this is very common It is used to cycle between elements -...
Leo Wattenberg's user avatar
2 votes

Are there any right hand dominant alternatives to Dvorak keyboard layouts that are about as old as Dvorak?

Well, I do not know about the same age, but Sholes (the inventor of QWERTY) also invented a second layout known as the "Sholes Second Layout", which is right-handed oriented . This layout ...
Devin's user avatar
  • 37.9k
2 votes

What negative impacts changing language automatically in input fields can have on UX?

The same as with anything that comes with forces automation and lack of transparency. Because a semi-smart system will never be 100% correct. One good example of a bad situation would be when you are ...
PixelSnader's user avatar
  • 8,321
2 votes
Accepted

Why is the US keyboard symbol layout different from most other keyboards?

The QWERTY keyboard layout was established in 1874 by Sholes & Glidden typewriters. Every language has certain keys that are used more often, like in English the letter W is one of the most used ...
Philip RH's user avatar
  • 112
1 vote

Which numeric keypad layout (PC or register) should be used for a touch panel?

Fix the screen layout to match the physical number pad it will be used with. If the software will never used along with a computer keyboard, there is no reason to mimic it. You say only one user ...
習約塔's user avatar
  • 1,885
1 vote

Which would be the logical way for shortcuts for up down left right arrows keys in a keyboard

As this binding is probably new to your users and will require some adaptation on their side, using the well known "w (up), s (down), a (left) and d (right)" will at least help those users who played ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 4,538
1 vote

Why do modern keyboards have Scroll Lock?

Pressing the Scroll Lock key in the Linux console while text is scrolling through the screen freezes the console output (but not input) during which no further text is printed on the screen, but the ...
Wolf's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote

Why are the right- and left- quotation marks on iOS's keyboard reversed?

The best explanation I can come up with is that ’ is used as a quotation mark and an apostrophe, so it gets used more than ‘ and hence should be quicker or simpler to access. Double quotation marks ...
Crissov's user avatar
  • 2,508
1 vote
Accepted

Why does the numpad have arrows?

I actually found out that back in 1981, keyboards didn't have separate arrow keys, nor was there a mouse to use to move the cursor. So you needed the arrows on the number-pad to move the cursor around....
MJB's user avatar
  • 2,204
1 vote

Why does the numpad have arrows?

They shift the cursor. One of the many residual features of a keyboard which was originally designed for the dumb terminals of a mainframe computer. The 'number pad' on the right hand end of the ...
PhillipW's user avatar
  • 11.3k
1 vote

Why are the keys on a keyboard square?

Why not use square keys? Square keys seem ostensibly simpler; each row does not need to be perfectly staggered by 1/2 of the key width (or, if you don't need perfectly hexagonal keys, you don't need ...
jamesdlin's user avatar
  • 418
1 vote

Why are the keys on a keyboard square?

I see, this is actually a good idea. I would honestly love just a few keyboards like this, so that some people can get what they want (I can adapt very quickly between types of keyboards, being a ...
Gray's user avatar
  • 19

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