Why are the keys on the keyboard not in columns?


λ the β-Redex Reducer

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I know that regular keyboards have staggered keys so that people can easily switch between their mechanical typewriter and computer but the Pyra's keys do not seem to be staggered in a way that would be useful for a typewriter because the keys are still each below a key that is 2 rows higher. So why is the keyboard staggered like that as opposed to just have it all in columns?
 

spud42

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short answer is no idea, however there are about 5000 posts in various keyboard threads that will painstakingly explain why the keyboard is what it is.

TL/DR version... live with it.
 

Djoga'Ro

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I'd assume to space out the "hit boxes" to aid in avoiding misspresses. ?
 

levi

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It's because the Pandora did it that way. I'm not sure exactly why the pandora did it that way other than without having too many different shaped keys, just using standard key shapes the keyboard fits in a nice trapezium. Normal keyboards require odd shaped keys to fit a square instead.

I had been looking for an old computer with half-staggered keys, but all of the mainstream ones I've found seem to be staggered by thirds. I have seen a lot of what I presume are eastern knock off spectrums with half staggered keys though.
 

TeDaDeS

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It's something we would be able to answer, probably somebody knows why it's made like it's now. At least ED knows.
As already mentioned the keyboard threads are pages long discussing every aspect of the keyboard.

Some references:
 

Neelix

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It may not match the way a normal keyboard is staggered but for me it still feels more natural to have it staggered this way than not staggered at all.

That being said, I don't actually recall the idea of not having it staggered ever having been raised during the pyra keyboard threads. Every template we ever worked with was staggered, and this is the first time I can recall anyone suggesting it should be otherwise. Did the question ever come up during Pandora development?

-Neelix
 

ible

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i think @Grench came up with a true matrix layout. not sure why we ended up with staggered, but likely due to ED's preferences...
 

Grench

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@Neelix @ible
The physical layout of the Pyra keys was pre-ordained by ED prior to the lengthy discussions regarding layout of the labels on those physical keys. The physical layout was considered 'fixed'.

Much discussion ensued.

At the end of it, a poll by ED was done using the top (10?) layouts under discussion. Two of the layouts that I had contributed were included.

Yes, the one selected as the most popular was chosen as the basis for further discussion was one of two of mine that had made the inclusion cut.

I cannot take full credit for the one chosen though. It was my version of a @_wb_ version of another version - it was a highly iterative result from collaboration. Truly a community generated result.

ED formed a team of (three or four?) of us to further refine based on the most popular layout. A few minor tweaks were applied, mostly dealing with the 'Attic Row' above the game controls. This is where we established that brightness for both the screen and the keymat backlights could be driven from a single attic button in combination with Fn and Shift.
Brightness button = Screen brightness up
Shift + Brightness button = Screen brightness down
Fn + Brightness button = Keyboard backlight up
Fn + Shift + Brightness button = Keyboard backlight down

I have a prototype. I've used the keyboard quite a bit. Having the keys staggered gives a tactile understanding of where your thumbs are at on the keyboard. A grid layout would be far more difficult to know where your thumbs are at without having to look at it constantly. With the stagger and layout it is pretty quick to learn to thumb-touch-type some and not always have to read the key legends.

Hope that helps. No-one expects the keyboard discussion! (Monty Python Spanish Inquisition reference)
 

λ the β-Redex Reducer

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Thanks, this is pretty interesting. I unfortunately missed the keyboard discussions. It seems they took place when I did not even know about the Pyra.
 

Neelix

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The physical layout of the Pyra keys was pre-ordained by ED prior to the lengthy discussions regarding layout of the labels on those physical keys. The physical layout was considered 'fixed'.
Ahhh yes, now I remember that. There had been attempts to convince him to adjust the spacing to allow for more keys, but ED was firm on the physical layout remaining fixed. Now that I think on it though, not everyone accepted that 'fixed' status. I seem to recall there being at least one member who was vehemently insistent that the wide space key should be split into two separate keys, all the way to the end of that process. I'm not sure if that person ever submitted a layout that actually matched the Pyra's physical layout.

... I never would have expected that I might one day feel nostalgic about keyboard threads! LOL

-Neelix
 

erico

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Most likely it was a design inherited to computers from typewriters because people were used and trained for it...and then everybody kept it that way. No need to redesign something that works though I have seen attempts throughout these past 30 years.
 

levi

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I wondered if there was an issue with the closeness of the pads, but looking at my pre-preorder board there doesn't seem any conflict between the contacts however they're staggered. There might be more of a concern in the deformation of the keymat rubber though, and having them half-staggered like they are means there's the most space around each that is possible.
 

matzesu

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One thing that bothered me most on this whole Keyboard Discussion:
If your realy want to write long novels on the Pyra, you wouldnt make this on a Mobile Situation, but when you have space an time,
maybe if you sitt on your Desk and also have a big screen..

The Build In Keyboard is only for On the Go, its too small for Serious Work on a Daylie Base, so: Just Hock Up your Favored USB Keyboard, or PS2 Keyboard via an USB Adapter, whe have USB, and Mini HDMI, even if this is not rotated yet..

If the Build in Keyboard is that good as the one from the Pandora, im fine whit it, and its allready better for me as i dont have to remember this Long Key Compination for ÜÄÖ in German..
 

Askarus

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Look at the right side of the keyboard.
Enter and FN stick out and are easy to hit.
Backspace is at the upper right and thus hard to miss.
What's seft is SHIFT and thus easy to distinguish from the rest.
At the left side it's TAB that sticks out.

For me it's much better that way to hit the right keys
 

Askarus

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But aren't the left keys equally needed?
It is.
Thanks to the different indentation of the lines I can easily distinguish which button my finger is on.

My Phone has a Grid layout Keyboard.
It does not look and feel right.
Of course I get used to anything (except the Y and Z swapped compared to my German keyboard :p) but I prefer having a keyboard in a more PC-like layout instead of a grid.
 
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