What option for a spacebar/button would you like?

What option for a spacebar/button would you like?

  • Continuity: Same as Pandora (bottom row, second from right, two wide)

    Votes: 26 48.1%
  • Symmetry: Bottom row, centered, two-wide spacebar

    Votes: 16 29.6%
  • Flexibility: Single-wide spacebutton (it can be mapped wherever!)

    Votes: 12 22.2%

  • Total voters
    54

ZXDunny

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Doesn't mean there can't be room for improvement.
 Absolutely - but as the vote here shows, people are not interested. They like the current layout and want to keep it.

As mentioned in the other thread at Ask EvilDragon, I hope people consider the con/flex/sym layouts and see what proposals they really prefer.  E.g., comparing the con vs. flex layouts given in the OP.
This is basically the issue here. It's not the keyboard itself, it's that a few folks are obsessed with the layout and won't accept the fact that the majority of those who voted (and if you don't vote, your opinion can't count) don't want their proposals. And because of that they won't let it go. ED has made his opinion clear - you can have your single-button space key if you want to; you'll just have to make your own case and PCB to go with it once the files are available to mod. Good luck sourcing your production systems for that.

This happened with the Pandora - there was a vocal minority that spent a long time and a lot of posts putting different keyboard layouts to the team; OPT ignored them and went with the same layout that they'd started with during the prototype phase.

I expect this trend to continue - people will keep on debating and refining their layouts right up until the Pyra is launched, and they'll not stop until they realise that they're expected to basically produce their own hardware if they want something different.

But don't let that you guys stop you, these threads really are very amusing :)

D.
 
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ible

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What is the current layout of the Pyra keyboard?  Just for reference, so I can put it in the OP.

I wasn't aware of any, so until we have one I think it's important to foster innovation and discovery :) .  While it may be true the ED has final say, I am hoping the community will get to vote on the proposed keyboards that fit the case design.
 
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comradekingu

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The functional layout is 64 keys, or 63 with doublewide space.

There is no current layout.

"Continuity" Implies there is a benefit to be had from aping it on a different functional layout. Both software and hardware wise that isn't the case. Basic keyboard design is why. Try the effective layouts and see. Which means there isn't even a benefit of keeping slalom-typing muscle memory.

"flexibility" option makes the decision seem random, as if it was just placed somewhere since all places are equally valid...

The pandora had a toy keyboard, because it there were too few keys on it. In turn something that made it look like a hack-job. A layout cant change that. It could have been better, but never truly good.

If anyone asks, the black button on my layout is the outer-space button. :p

Edit: Just to answer ZXdunny in case someone thinks he made a point.

The PCB has 64 keys, individual ones. If by clear you mean he has one preference and keeps his options, sure. I don't understand the appeal to authority, especially when you are the one speaking on behalf of ED. Nor how you computed 10 votes weight as a final say in what should be a hard limit when trying to design a whole keyboard layout...

The prototype layout isn't a layout, its something hacked together for a presentation. If you would rather have duplication of letters on your keyboard rather than something that a vocal minority put thought into, then be my guest. Being vocally constructive is a gift reserved for the minority it seems. You are certainly a minority in discouraging community engagement.

My keyboard layout hasn't changed since at least September.
 
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DAP

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I feel like a lefty arguing for a car that is slightly inconvenient for everyone against a car that only righties can drive.
 

ZXDunny

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Edit: Just to answer ZXdunny in case someone thinks he made a point.
Not "making a point" - more pointing out what's already been said by the only guy who actually counts.

I don't understand the appeal to authority, especially when you are the one speaking on behalf of ED.
I'm not speaking on behalf of ED, he's more than capable of making himself heard:

Well, you can modify the case and mainboard when the files have been released ;)
Besides, AFAIR we had a poll about double or single-width spacebar already, and the double-width won.

So why discuss again if the majority was in favor of it?
And then there's this - do I really need to answer this one based on the quotes above?

Nor how you computed 10 votes weight as a final say in what should be a hard limit when trying to design a whole keyboard layout...
Because how else is anyone to gauge the opinion of the community if nobody bothers to answer a poll? And of those that do... Well, the results are obvious.

As I said before, you guys are obsessed and these keyboard debates will continue despite there being no chance you're going to get what you want - you're a vocal minority, nothing more. Both polls show this clearly.

D.
 
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ible

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"Continuity" Implies there is a benefit to be had from aping it on a different functional layout. Both software and hardware wise that isn't the case. Basic keyboard design is why. Try the effective layouts and see. Which means there isn't even a benefit of keeping slalom-typing muscle memory.
Yes, I was hoping people would consider the proposed layouts before deciding for "continuing" to have less keys.

"flexibility" option makes the decision seem random, as if it was just placed somewhere since all places are equally valid...
By "flexibility" I just meant that you have more options for keys.  On what location is valid, that's for another poll I suppose.  But most flex proposals have the space-button close to the bottom right.

The pandora had a toy keyboard, because it there were too few keys on it. In turn something that made it look like a hack-job. A layout cant change that. It could have been better, but never truly good.

[...]

The prototype layout isn't a layout, its something hacked together for a presentation. If you would rather have duplication of letters on your keyboard rather than something that a vocal minority put thought into, then be my guest. Being vocally constructive is a gift reserved for the minority it seems. You are certainly a minority in discouraging community engagement.
Yeah, I'm excited about the Pyra because I think the OpenPandora community is about community engagement, and on the whole I sense that ;) .  I'm hoping in the end we can call it "our keyboard" instead of ED's, ible's, _wb_'s, or comradekingu's, or whoever else's.
 

ible

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I feel like a lefty arguing for a car that is slightly inconvenient for everyone against a car that only righties can drive.
With a "flexibility" layout, you could easily move the spacebar over to the left side of things.  I'm not sure how all the things would get moved around, but you'd have the option at least :) .
 

Christoph.Krn

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Even ESC or ENTER seem more appropriate to me [for "bring up a menu or something", remark Christoph.Krn] than space.
You're thinking about what they're called. It doesn't matter what makes sense to use based on what it is named, I meant it makes sense because of the size and the location. A double width key in the bottom row is easy to locate and hit without having to hunt for it, and without fear of accidentally hitting it when you don't want nor of hitting buttons beside it when you do. It didn't need to be space bar, "B" could have been double width and it would have accomplished the same thing, [...]
Just a sidenote:
This is arguable, but most people probably won't be invoking game-pausing menus insanely often. In that sense, it isn't usually really important whether the menu key is extra big.

That is, as long as the user /knows/ which key will invoke the menu. The space key is not necessarily the first key a user will think of when it comes to, say, exiting a software. What's worse, when the user is using the software for the first time, then maybe she doesn't even know what would be found in that menu, or that the menu even exists.

An important part of usability is to make sure that the user's imagination of how a system works does not mismatch the actual workings of the system in such a way that it will lead to results that are undesired by the user (see, for instance, How Can Mental Models Be Applied in Software Design?). This can be achieved through a variety of measures, and one of them is familiarity. So, it makes sense if a game-pausing menu is bound to, say, the "Start" button, because that's typical on gaming consoles.

Wherever binding the menu to the "Start" button is not possible, it can make sense look at /why/ the user may want to invoke such a menu. For example, it could be imagined that users may want to find this menu when they want to exit the software, hence it could make sense to bind the menu on keys that are associated with exiting a software. One of these keys could be Esc.

Moreover, it even makes sense to bind the menu to /multiple/ keys and buttons, as long as this does not result in accidential invocations of the menu. In this sense, it's not a bad idea to bind such a menu on the Space key, the Esc key, the Enter key, or possibly even, say, Alt-F4, at the same time.

You might think that that multi-binding might not be all that much of an improvement, but familiarity is so important that a good rule of thumb in usability is that you do not change conventions. Think about the controversy surrounding Canonical's decision that the window control buttons in Ubuntu should be on the left side now, and you get an idea of the subtle effects at work here. Now imagine how frustrating it can be for people if you expect them to find out that to open a menu, they would have to press the B key, based on the reasoning that this is the biggest key (as suggested in the hypothetical scenario you provided). You would have to make sure that the information about which key to push is actually conveyed to the user at the right times in the right ways to prevent frustration or even panic, but most developers are not aware of these things. What's worse, situations such as failing at exiting a software can easily cause users to get into user-panic mode, where broad and creative thinking is difficult, which can cause people to miss obvious clues and instructions, push only the same few buttons again and again even though nothing is happening, and so on (you don't have to be stupid to have such a thing happen to you Edit: Wrong link, this is the correct one: you don't have to be stupid to have such a thing happen to you).
 
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Askarus

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^ That's right.

I would always bind the menu key to multiple keys when Possible.

ESC and start and Space.

Especially for emulators ESC and SPACE seems to be a good choice.
 
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comradekingu

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Why is space a good choice? Its to check boxen, and sometimes to pause.

Alt+F, or ESC seem like the obvious choices to me. Start for in-game menu.

With the "flexibility" options you cant move the space alone, because then you ruin efficiency...
 
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hmc

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I am a laptop-style Pandora user (i.e. device placed on table or lap, then using two hands with about 3 fingers each to type on it).

Hence I strongly prefer the spacebar to be in the middle (symmetric). 
 

Tenka

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Why is space a good choice? Its to check boxen, and sometimes to pause.
Going to be a dick and answer for Askarus.  Because it's big and its on the edge.  And I don't think it's used to check boxes in any emulator.

I am a laptop-style Pandora user (i.e. device placed on table or lap, then using two hands with about 3 fingers each to type on it).

Hence I strongly prefer the spacebar to be in the middle (symmetric). 
Sorry.  I've seen a few people with similarly unusual preferences, like holding it in one hand and only typing in the other.  It's annoying if it's a little less convenient for you, but don't you suppose that the primary handhold the handheld is shaped to accommodate should be the first consideration for determining the key placement, so we can use the game controls and keyboard controls in the same or close positions?
 
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comradekingu

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Since the best use-case isnt desktop typing, it hasnt been given priority. But it should absolutely be possible, for the sake of convenience.

Desktop typing with two hands is a further subset of that, but by all means, where there is possibility there is potential.
 
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hmc

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Sorry.  I've seen a few people with similarly unusual preferences, like holding it in one hand and only typing in the other.  It's annoying if it's a little less convenient for you, but don't you suppose that the primary handhold the handheld is shaped to accommodate should be the first consideration for determining the key placement, so we can use the game controls and keyboard controls in the same or close positions?
So now it's the question how such a poll is meant to be used.

I understood it that way, that each one of us can vote for the preferred space placement for himself. For me it would be in the middle. If most other users don't do that kind of typing I do, their favorite position will not be in the middle. So in the end the poll will show that for most users the ideal space placement is not in the middle and the space bar/button WILL not be in the middle. What's the problem for you then?

Would you expect me to guess what other users do with their Pyra and vote for their (guessed) preference? If all people would do it that way, and imagine they all guess wrongly - what would be the result? A keyboard layout not usable for anyone. 

And what would be the purpose of such guessed-preference vote? To push the "win" further towards the "better" placement? It woudln't have any advantage for anyone, would it? Majority is majority. 

Sorry, Tenka. You haven't convinced me.

Since the best use-case isnt desktop typing, it hasnt been given priority. But it should absolutely be possible, for the sake of convenience.

Desktop typing with two hands is a further subset of that, but by all means, where there is possibility there is potential.
I know quite some people who prefer this kind of typing. People who prefer to use the Pandora / Pyra for work rather than for gaming. Actually if they all would vote here, I am not so sure that "space on the side" would still get a majority in the poll. At least, it wouldn't be that clear anymore. Even though the Pandora and Pyra are developed with gaming in mind, it can and will be used for a lot more. 

The people I speak of are HP 200LX users. There were a LOT of such people, who were or are in search for a HP 200LX successor, because their 200LXs die or are not useful anymore due to lack of new technologies (mainly connectivity). There was no good successor, until the Zaurus came, but the Zaurus was not powerful enough. Then there was the Pandora. It finally had the power we needed. but the keyboard didn't allow for fast and convenient typing. At least not, if you are used to the great HP 200LX keyboard and if you are old enough to refuse to adapt your habits too much. (Some of my customers are older than 80 years - when I showed the Pandora to one of them, he didn't even recognize that it was actually a very similar device as the 200LX). the Pyra will be better in this regard, and hence I could imagine that some remaining (patient) 200LX users will finally take the plunge, once the Pyra is available. 

I may encourage them now to vote here, too, and depending on how many of them will vote, it may tear the vote result to another direction.  Since the keyboard of the Pandora was a showstopper for many of them, I could imagine that the interest in this poll is great.

However, I am torn now. On one hand I think it's fair for those people to have a chance to vote, too. 

On the other hand I may make some people here - members of the primary target group - angry if the vote result would indeed significantly change. 

What do you think? Should we invite people to this poll, even though they are not the primary target group of this project (but very interested in it, anyway)?  Please let's not discuss this question here in this thread. It's not intended for that. I'd rather ask those who have an opinion on that, to write it to me as a private message. ED? Tenka? ible (thread starter)?
 

Tenka

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It's simpler to respond in the thread, doesn't sound off-topic to me.  I didn't intend to influence you to vote differently in this poll, I was trying to make you sigh, lean back, and admit that the Pandora and the Pyra are overwhelmingly designed for people to comfortably hold like Gameboy Advances and type with their thumbs, finally allowing people to do high level computer things even when they don't have a desk to sit at.  I know that doesn't change what uses you have for the devices, certainly vote for what you want.  Sorry for coming across as some "Join me and rule the world" girl.

I'm curious about your feelings though, I'll take a better read around in a moment but it sounds like the only reason you would like the spacebar to be centered is because you and your 80 year old customers would find it easier to peck while the Pyra is on a table. (others want it more friendly for people who prefer using their other thumb of course but I don't know that you care about that)  I'm wondering why you find it more difficult to press with an index finger near the side than you would in the middle.  I thought I understood at first because I assumed pecking it on the side might tilt the device, but that doesn't happen with my Pandora at all, feels just as easy as pecking V, and on the side my hand doesn't get in the way of me seeing the next key I'm going to press. 

I didn't deliver the point I meant to last time so I'll explain exactly what I mean to say this time; I'm not arguing that a side placed spacebar is a better idea than a center placed spacebar, I'm trying to find out why you want a center placed one.  It doesn't feel any easier to me while I'm typing like you do.
 
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rygD

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I think a centered space bar is better for both thumb typing and tabletop typing since it can be reached by both thumbs.  I occasionally use my Pandora on a table or desk.  Due to the number of keys available I still think having a single width space key is the best option for the largest number of people.  I am talking about use, not preference.  We don't have enough rows of keys to have the space centered on the bottom row unless the numbers and such are moved, much like Grench shows in his layout, or it is between letters.

I voted for single wide space to allow for different layouts, and so I can have one more key.  I know that we are probably going to get something resembling the Pandora layout, and have started looking at ways to have an improved layout with the keys in the places they appear on the prototype cases.

What I am most interested in are the reasons behind the majority preference of going with a Pandora style spacebar.  Different people may like it for different reasons, so what are they?  Are there things that go along with that spacebar preference, such as key accessibility and functionality?  To help everyone understand it would be best to give specific details.  It would also help to know if some "prefer" a spacebar in the Pandora location because they don't really care, and it was "good enough" on the Pandora, or something like that.

I suppose I could make another thread to ask the above questions, since everyone loves keyboard threads.
 

Tenka

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I still think this thread is just fine, we're probably all reading it.  I'm comfortable with the double width right side space bar because I can press it with one thumb while holding my Pandora in one hand, if it were instead in the middle this wouldn't be as comfortable since I'd have to adjust my grip a bit, and if it were in the middle and only one key wide I'd drop the Pandora.  I'm glad it's on the right side because my right hand is what I prefer to hold the Pandora in, and my right thumb is what I've always used to strike other space bars.  But I could adapt to using my left thumb if that were the thumb this action called for, that'd be just fine, no harder than pressing any of the other keys on the left side of the Pandora keyboard is.  Right side space is fine because it's easy to reach with a relaxed hand position, left side space is fine because it's also easy to reach with a relaxed hand motion, only the middle is silly, because that wouldn't be as easy.  To the argument that some people are left handed, you don't need to be right handed just to press a key on the right side of the keyboard, and to the argument that desktop space bars are in the middle, so?  Yeah?

I think a centered space bar is better for both thumb typing and tabletop typing since it can be reached by both thumbs.
Both thumbs, I get that, for thumb typing.  But why do you think a centered space bar is better for tabletop typing?
 

_wb_

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43 votes so far: 22 for Pandora-style bottom-right double-width, 9 for centered double-width, 12 for single-width.

So yes, technically there is a majority in favor of sticking to the Pandora-style bottom-right double-width space bar. But it's a small majority, and the sample size is also rather small.

Like rygD, I also wonder about the reasons people have for their choice.

I voted single-width because one extra key is always useful, I want to make DVORAK and whatever remappers happy. Also I don't like the alternatives: double-width on the right (or on the left for that matter) serves no purpose at all since it can still only be reached by one thumb, and centered double-width implies that you either lose the number row or you lose the standard QWERTY layout -- and even then, the space bar is still not very comfortable in handheld use; the center is not a premium location like on a regular keyboard!

What reasons do the others have?

The only reasons I've seen so far for a double-width space bar are:

  • "Most people are not interested and you are obsessed"
  • Some kind of appeal to a certain vague sense of "look & feel" that dictates that any self-respecting space bar has to be wide
  • "Polls show that most people want double-width"
  • "The ZX Spectrum had a double-width space button [actually 1.5-width], and that was an award-winning design classic" (not designed for handheld thumb-typing though)
  • A larger space bar is easier to hit
  • It will be easier for new users to find out where the space bar is if it is larger.

In my opinion, only the last two arguments are valid ones.

A larger space bar is easier to hit: Of course larger keys are easier to hit, but space is not really that much more important than, say, Enter or the letter 'E'. And a missing key (the one sacrificed by having a double-width space) is also very hard to hit.

It will be easier for new users to find out where the space bar is if it is larger: Yes, first impressions may be important at trade shows and conferences, and it may have some impact on sales. But I think that we should mostly focus on making it the best possible device from day 2 onwards, not the best possible device for the first 5 minutes. And also keep in mind that we cater to a specific niche audience: there could very well be potential Pyra-buyers who immediately dismiss a keyboard that is incompatible with DVORAK, for example.
 

_wb_

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Hey _wb_...

  • < and > are now Meta-keys instead of regular (Shifted) keys
  • Not possible anymore to map Meta+K,L, e.g. for L it is no longer possible to for Polish to map Meta+L to ł Ł or for British to map it to ₤ (they can use Meta+P for that though)
If we moved <> over to JK instead of KL, would that be better for the polish and the rest of the world?  Are there fewer people who diacriticize J?

That would also give a nice symmetry of <> being just over = for times you want to write <= or >=.
JK instead of KL is probably a good idea, even if just for symmetry around =. I do think that diacritics on J are indeed rarer than on L.

J exists with a circumflex in Esperanto (an artificial language), with a stroke in Arhuaco (an Indigenous American language with 14,800 speakers, 1-5% literacy), and with a caron in Wakhi (58,000 native speakers). That is about it.

L with a stroke (Ł) is a letter of the Polish, Kashubian, Sorbian, Łacinka (Latin Belarusian), Łatynka (Latin Ukrainian), Wymysorys, Navajo, Dene Suline, Inupiaq, Zuni, Hupa, and Dogrib alphabets, L with a caron/apostrophe exists in Slovak, L with an underdot in Asturian (100,000 native speakers, 450,000 second-language).
 

levi

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FWIW, I voted for symmetry and won't mod. I'd prefer a symmetrical space bar if it can be made to work, but it does mean sacrificing the number key row as I see it, so if the majority aren't comfortable with that, I'll work with whatever I get.
 
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