Visions on Keyboards with OLED-screen buttons (context-dependent keyboard layout)

22 Nov 2007 - 8:24am
6 years ago
2 replies
1022 reads
Nicolai Bentsen
2007

Hi IxDA!

Came across a gallery of the Optimus Maximus Keyboard
http://www.engadget.com/photos/hands-on-with-optimus-maximus-at-last/

Imagine this as a standard on all new laptops and keyboards from an
interaction perspective:

Application Short-cuts displayed when an application has focus:
When you switch to Photoshop, your keyboard changes layout to reflect the
short-cuts as icons.

Shortcuts behind Ctrl/Alt/Windows-key/Apple-key:
When you press down either key, you keyboard switches context again to show
the short-cuts behind the ctrl-key. The "C" would become a Copy-icon, when
you pressed the Ctrl on Windows or Apple-key on Mac.

Keyboard configuration:
Developers could configure their keyboard to write code much easier while
still enabling others to use their computer.

Imagine how much easier applications and games could be to use, if all of
them could change the layout of the keyboard, to reflect the available
options as keys with different icons or text, in any given
application-context.

Just a thought I got from seeing the gallery of the new keyboard - please
share your thoughts :-)

Nicolai Bentsen
Zecure

Comments

22 Nov 2007 - 9:59am
Alexander Baxevanis
2007

On Nov 22, 2007 1:24 PM, Nicolai Bentsen <bentsen at gmail.com> wrote:
> Imagine how much easier applications and games could be to use, if all of
> them could change the layout of the keyboard, to reflect the available
> options as keys with different icons or text, in any given
> application-context.

I can only imagine how annoyed users can be when they make mode errors.

It may be of use to some professionals who spend most of their working
day in one application (e.g. image/video editing) with lots of obscure
functions but I can't see why they would invest in such an expensive
keyboard. Most of them already use a keyboard with specially-coloured
keys or stickers on top of keys, see for example:

http://www.editorskeys.com/

For people constantly switching between different apps to get their
job done, they would either have to constantly look at the keyboard to
find out which key to press (not much an improvement from looking at a
toolbar) or they would make a lot of mode errors (I still swear every
time I press Cmd+T in my Mac to open a new web browser tab, but
instead my instant messenger application is focused and I get a "Text
Properties" popup that can't even be dimsissed by keyboard).

A set of "shortcut keys" (which can be found with almost every
keyboard nowadays) look more useful to me. (unfortunately, in my
keyboard they're hidden in the ergonomically worst position, as my
finger would have to jump over a row of function keys to reach them).
Perhaps it would be appropriate to fit a display on each of these
keys: although they are usually re-configurable through software, they
icon printed on them cannot be changed.

Regards,
Alex

22 Nov 2007 - 12:08pm
Murli Nagasundaram
2007

Sundry online gizmo forums (e.g., Gizmodo and Engadget) tend to go gaga over
the Optimus. While it looks pretty and sure has a following among fans of
shiny objects, it unfortunately is very unfriendly towards
muscle/kinesthetic memory. Note how the QWERTY keyboard has prevailed
despite its layout being 'sub-optimal'. Doug Engelbart's 5-key chorded
keyboard never caught on even (or, especially) among the early UI mavens at
PARC and elsewhere. For the same reason. Engelbart claimed that the device
helped experts. Likewise, the Optimus is probably not for 'the rest of us.'

-murli | www.murli.com

On 11/22/07, Nicolai Bentsen <bentsen at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hi IxDA!
>
> Came across a gallery of the Optimus Maximus Keyboard
> http://www.engadget.com/photos/hands-on-with-optimus-maximus-at-last/
>
> Imagine this as a standard on all new laptops and keyboards from an
> interaction perspective:
>
>

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