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Standard Keyboard

Standard IBM/Windows keyboard with a US layout.

The standard computer keyboard could be easily improved by making each key fit one’s fingers and one’s typing needs better.

There is a problem when typing on home row, the AJ row, of catching one’s fingernails on the row above, the QU row. This problem could be easily corrected by tilting the surface of the keys on the QU row about 15 degrees with the side close to the operator down and also by rounding those keys on the close side.

The AJ row would function better by making the keys slightly bulging, round-topped with dimples in the center of the A , F, J, and ; keys. The dimples on the F and J would help keep one’s hands centered and the dimples on the A and ; would keep the arms angled appropriately on the keyboard. The rounding of the AJ row would permit moving down to the ZM row without the snagging of one’s fingernails on the bottom edge of the AJ row.

The ZM row could be made with the keys tilted about 15° with the high side of the keys close to the operator side of the keyboard. With that angling the slightly curled fingers would fall more smoothly onto those keys than with the standard flat keyboard.

A separate issue is that the most commonly used key, the backspace key, is presently located in the the most remote place on the basic keyboard, the extreme upper right corner, and to use it requires taking one’s fingers off the home row, the AJ row, which then requires a moment to reorient the fingers to the home row. The backspace key should be located where the left side of the overly long space bar is on the current but antiquated keyboard where it would be operated by the left thumb.

Keyboard with new space bar replacement options

Keyboard with new space bar replacement options

An even better arrangement for the backspace function would be a key below the CV keys which would back-delete the previous word, leaving a space, a key below the B which would back-delete single characters and a key below the NM which would be the usual space key. All of these keys could be of equal sideways length and flat but tilted about 15° down towards the natural lay of the thumbs; they would function better with the thumbs if they were one half the normal depth. A rounded up dimple in the center of the space key and the delete-word key would help keep the thumbs oriented. It would be even better if these keys were all the same width as the regular letter keys and the extra keys dedicated to cursoring. A key below the C could be used for cursoring left and a key below the “,” could be used for cursoring right. The new sized keys on the space bar row could all be standard sized width and the extra keys used for more functions but the depth should be half of normal and tilted 15°.

Those suggestions are best for a desktop keyboard with full deflection keys but with the very flat minimum deflection keys found on most laptop computers the tilt angles would have to be shallower.

Everywhere I look there are little improvements which are needed.