The Design of Everyday Interfaces – 2 (Why meddle with the layout of a regular keyboard)

by krishnamoorthyb

Part 2 of the series on the design of everyday interfaces.

The keyboard shown below is the standard issue keyboard at my workplace.  The top part of the picture is the old keyboard. Someone wanted to “design” something and came up with the near identical keyboard shown in the bottom half of the image – except for one crucial key (at least for me).

Notice that in the new design, the size of shift key on the left hand side has been reduced by half to make way for a duplicate of the ‘\’ key. Being a heavy user of the Shift key on the left end of the keyboard, I find myself pressing the ‘\’ key by mistake every time I intend to press the shift key. This is not a laptop keyboard where you are constrained by space. If there was a real need to have a duplicate of the ‘\’ key, I would rather provide a general purpose programmable key that a users can map to any key of choice. 


Can you think of a reason for the extra ‘\’ key? If yes, please post it as a comment.

Older articles in series:

Part 1