Keyboard Horror

Since 2013, I am officially a keyboard enthusiast. I care a lot about the layout, the key switches and that the keys are in standard positions.

Special keyboards, like laptop or ergonomically shaped keyboards are allowed to have some deviations, but only if it is really needed.

These are some of the horrors that I have seen regarding the layout:

The Home-End-Delete-Insert-Page-Up-Down Cluster

This cluster of keys is the usual place of mangling, expecially on a notebook. You can consider yourself lucky if they are almost in the same spots as on a regular keyboard, like this:

../../_images/cluster-notebook.jpg

The big delete key is nice to work with, but I do have to look closely to find the ScrLk and PrtSc keys.

Next up is a keyboard that was included with a tower. The mangling is horrifying:

  1. Page ↑ and Page ↓ are not above each other, but next to each other.
  2. There is no spacing between the letters, the movement keys and the numpad. This gap usually serves as a visual aid. On this keyboard, I always have to read the printing, to find the right key.
  3. There is a extra menu key where none should be. Next to Ctrl, where such a key should be, is none.
  4. The key is bigger then the others and moved below the shift key.
  5. There is an extra “Screen” key in the top row. It opens an Explorer window on Windows 8.1.
../../_images/cluster-cheap.jpg

The next one is an older gaming keyboard. Its keys are at the right spots, except the mangled cluster right there. I guess they did it to reduce the already great width that came with the programmable keys. As you can see, the mangling is different compared to the previous keyboard. So much for touch typing on those two.

../../_images/cluster-gaming.jpg

US keys with German layout (sort of)

This laptop keyboard has the ANSI keys that is usually used for the US layout. However, this has the German layout printed onto it. If you are used to the German ISO keys, the enter key will startle you a bit.

../../_images/us-de.jpg

I guess it is great if you want to use the US layout, but the extra < key makes it a little strange as well.

Strange shape of capslock key

For some reason, manufacturers deem it important to give the capslock key a strange shape:

../../_images/ms-shift.jpg

I guess that this is done to prevent accidental hitting this key. When used as a control key, the capslock key can actually be quite useful.

Different keys for function keys

I bought a “how-cheap-can-we-make-it keyboard” [1] for a secondary computer. Apparently, I did not look carefully enough and bought one where the function keys are completely different. Argh!

../../_images/ms-f.jpg

[1]I read that term here and I now also use it to refer to those cheap keyboards.