Triangular buttons key to touchscreen typing success - inventor
Square ones sub-optimal, apparently
A British inventor has submitted a patent application for a wacky touchscreen keyboard design which, he claims, could spell the end for accidental key presses.
The Crocodile Keyboard: triangular keys are better for data entry on touchscreen phones, apparently
David Baker’s Crocodile Keyboard is so named because its keys are shaped like the reptile’s sharp teeth.
Baker told Register Hardware today that each triangular key has significantly more dead space around it than you’d find on a standard Qwerty layout. Consequently, users are more likely to press the correct key each time they tap.
Although originally designed as a physical keyboard for the Palm Pilot – the project was speared due to manufacturing costs, says Baker — the inventor is adamant that a virtual Crocodile Keyboard could be successfully ported onto the iPhone. Apple's publicly available iPhone OS software development kit makes this possible.
However, Baker believes that the virtual keyboard’s full potential will only be realised if it’s integrated into every area of the iPhone that uses a keyboard, such as SMS and email, rather than developed as a standalone application. For this to happen, he requires Apple’s aid, something he described as "very difficult to get".
So, for the time being at least, the Crocodile Keyboard for touchscreen phones remains just a dream. ®
Since the old "the letters are in the wrong order" thing is going round again, even if Frank was joking, people have tried alphabetical modern keyboards (and indeed a lot of touch screen devices do offer them), and they're really no better - and usually worse - than QWERTY. The usual problem is that the alphabet is in order linearly, but that keyboards are split into rows; knowing where to look makes sense only if the row length is standardised (or, admittedly, if you arrange the letters in diagonal stripes so "ABCD" map to "QAZW" on QWERTY). Even if everyone standardised on such a keyboard, it would still require a bit of hunting and pecking for new typists and be awkward (given the mapping of letter frequencies to fingers) for experienced typists.
Other layouts can be at least slightly better - I use QWERTY on one keyboard and Dvorak on another (stops me mixing my computers up) and I really do find Dvorak to be more comfortable and probably faster for some tasks; it was also reasonably easy to learn. Other layouts, like Maltron's, are supposedly better still. However, the (Western) world uses QWERTY (or variants thereof), and it's not that bad - it's probably not worth the hassle of everyone changing. Anyone having a problem with it just needs to practise a bit, like the rest of us had to, and not be deluded into thinking that alphabetical ordering would help.
Back on topic, I can't see that the key shape is going to matter much. If you want typing on a touch screen to go faster, find a way to give some touch feedback (e.g. small bumps where the keys are). Fingers don't see, they feel; a fancy keyboard is no good if you can't see it behind your digits, but something to keep your fingers centred would be a much greater help. I can type on an unlabelled keyboard - I once used a keyboard that someone had swapped the keys around on (into, as it happens, alphabetical order - along with more evil changes such as swapping the numeric keypad from calculator to phone layout) and didn't notice until I looked to see whether the punctuation was in UK or US style - but I crawl on a laser keyboard.
Damn... now someone has to write
a triangular key logger
"QWERT is designed to use without too much wrist movement."
QWERT was actually designed to keep appart the letters commonly used together within the mechanism of a traditional keyboard to prevent the whole lot jamming.
Before world+dog settled on QWERT other layouts were tried. When QWERT was first popular people who were used to other layouts complained that it slowed them down because they had to hunt for letters and thus began the myth that QWERT was actually designed to slow down typists in order to prevent the typewriter jamming.
The idea that QWERT is designed to minimize wrist movement is nonsense. As is the idea that other layouts are necesarilly slower. Sure you will be slower if you switch to another layout, but it's nothing to do with the layout being inherently slower and everything to do with the fact that you are having to learn a new layout.
@It's still all in the wrong order
the cat sat on the mat. - QWERTY
zut eqz lqz gf zut dqz. - Alphabet
Which is easier to type?
@It's still all in the wrong order
QWERTY is much easier than a alphabetical keyboard.
Ive used a ALPHABETICAL keyboard before. And you spend more time searching for the letters than anything. its also uncomfortable
QWERT is designed to use without too much wrist movement.