143

Notice that C-copy, X-cut and V-paste are next to each other on the keyboard. Also they are very close to the ctrl key. if a user copied something to the clipboard, the next most probable action would be pasting what was copied. So compared to P, while it makes sense as a language, but from a HCI perspective. it'll be easier on the hand and fingers to go ...


99

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


79

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 the ...


73

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 staggered)...


71

Some compact keyboard layouts don't have a numpad, so those keys are mapped to the right-hand side of the letter section: If NumLock is on, then a user typing the password kill, will actually type 2533. Turning NumLock off will prevent this problem, but of course - it will cause another one for those who do rely on the numpad. Keeping it on or off by ...


70

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 ...


69

Uhm, sorry. You refer to a =/+ key. But there is none on my keyboard. I think you should add a locale tag, and make sure your users only work within that locale.


67

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, and ...


62

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 ...


62

One major commonly used application that still supports Scroll Lock is Microsoft Excel. This makes sense if you work in spreadsheets all day and are used to navigating with the keyboard arrow keys more efficiently than the mouse. They still use it. In fact, when you google excel scroll lock, the first thing on the list is Turn off Scroll Lock - Office ...


55

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 ...


54

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.


54

The whole hotkeys issue is a good example of the "intuitiveness vs efficiency/ease of use" trade-off. Yes, it would be very nice to have all our actions mapped to a key that begins with the first letter of the actions. It would be intuitive and easy to remember. However: Many actions have the same first letter. Of course you can then switch to the second, ...


47

While space is an obvious part of the equation, it's not the main one, you could simply have a sliding physical keyboard just as previous generations of smartphones and be a happy camper. However, physical keyboards had several issues: smaller keys than on-screen keys structural weakness short lifetime (the flex connector and pieces of sliding keyboards had ...


44

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 ...


44

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 ...


35

What caused this decline in the use of physical keyboards? The iPhone What is the impact on the UX of mobile devices? This is a pretty deep question and is tough to answer objectively. I would argue that dropping the physical keyboard was a net gain. That the benefits it brought far outweighed the usefulness of the physical keyboard. As others have ...


32

The plus key is very arbitrary and does not map well with the intention of moving up/down. Also it is mostly used to expand the tree node (i.e. windows explorer). I would suggest a different key combination for moving : ctrl + up/down arrow. So the arrow keys are used for navigating, but combined with the control key they move the object. This seems to be ...


31

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 ...


30

Based on conventions elsewhere, it is probably best to refer to it as the plus or + key. The +/- dichotomy is used in other apps and more likely to be encountered by your users before they use yours even if it's in a different context. And your users are not trying to type the = character, they are trying to hit a specific key. This also allows users to use ...


28

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 ...


25

Very few isometric games have a keyboard control scheme. The few I remember playing that used the arrow keys to move treated a single key as an orthogonal direction. To get diagonal movement you needed to press two keys like down and right. Some even mapped all 8 surrounding squares to the numbers on the keypad (except 5) so you had a full range of motion. (...


23

To be frank, only a selected few are aware that the Enter and Return keys are not the same - whether you refer to it as Enter or Return, users will press either buttons (if they have both buttons). This is due to the fact that on very few software products the Enter and Return keys do different things (Avid's Pro Tools is the only example I can give). My ...


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 ...


23

The main reason is versatility. A keyboard in software can be easily adapted to different layouts, different character/symbol sets and different cultures. In addition, custom keyboards such as Swype or Word Flow are then feasible. Physical keyboards add to the physical complexity of the device, have to be revealed (deployed) to be usable and are more ...


22

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 “...


22

"Enter" is a more popular choice than "Return". According to Google ngrams. As Robusto commented, you need to take into account that the phrases used in this ngrams search may appear in contexts other than that of computer keyboard usage and that this may skew the results. (members of the press enter the courtroom) However it seems clear that Enter is a ...


21

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

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 ...


21

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 ...


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