The Holy Grail for Keyboard Manufacturers: Keyboard Design, Shape of Keys, Ideal Tactile Feedback
As mentioned, since QWERTY has become a de-facto standard for keyboards, it is practically impossible to improve typing skills by re-locating keys as the whole world uses QWERTY and nothing else. As a result, in order to make typing more pleasant and faster, manufacturers have to somehow improve ergonomics as well as tactile feedback, or response from the keys.
Throughout the last two decades we have seen many keyboard designs that were a radical departure from classic typewriter/keyboard: Microsoft Natural and Logitech Wave are just two examples. The keyboards with fancy design place keys in a way that designer thinks is the most efficient for typing. However, apart from design, other factors are no less important.
The shape of keys is crucial for those, who type a lot: provided that the keys have concave surface, fingers do not slide while typing, which automatically reduces the amount of typos. Besides, the keys’ surface and gaps between keys should be large enough for fingers, otherwise it is almost inevitable that typos will occur because fingers will press several keys simultaneously. There are a lot of talks nowadays that completely flat keys are fine for typists and apologist of that theory bring modern keyboards by Apple as a proof for the point. However, a lot of end-users still believe that Apple Extended keyboard and its follower Matias Tactile Pro are by far the best Apple-specific keyboards ever released.
Apart from the shape of keys, it is important that it is neither easy nor hard to press a key, which can be called tactile feedback or resistance of keys. Nowadays there are loads of inexpensive keyboards which keys hardly have any resistance at all and it is pretty hard to type on them a lot, and fast, without mistakes. Another issue is the length of the keystroke: keyboards with short (notebook like) keystroke are harder to use for many than keyboards with longer stroke. Moreover, if the keys provide insufficient tactile feedback, in numerous cases a key can be touched, but since it cannot be felt tactically that it actually switched the signal, a typo will occur.
So, the ideal keyboard should have the following features:
- Fine and well thought design;
- Keys should have concave surface;
- Surface of the keys should be large enough.
- Gaps between keys should be hefty enough.
- Tactile feedback and resistance of the keys should be well balanced.
- Keystroke should not be short or long.
Does the Das Keyboard feature all of the above? Let’s find out further in this review!