Will Pyra have a double sized space bar?


Grench

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There is no way to make the space key/bar on the Pyra an easy target for both thumbs. You could have a centered double-width key (as in Grench's proposal), although that puts some rather severe constraints on the rest of the layout, but even in that layout, it is not an easy target for both thumbs. It would rather be a reachable but not very easily reachable for either thumb. To make it really an easy target for both thumbs, it would need to be centered and at least QUADRUPLE-width, like on regular keyboards.
Not true.  Hold your Pandora with your thumbs on the nubs.  Without adjusting your hands, swing them both down/back toward the front edge of the device.  Odds are they'll touch dead center over the V and B keys.  A centered double-width space bar would be VERY easy target for EITHER thumb.

All my phones had a large spacebar so far as well, some also only on the right or left side.


And those REALLY were in need of more keys...


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?
I'm good with double width.  Is it possible to center the large space bar or must it be in the lower right?  

I have a thumb optimized keyboard proposal with a centered space bar that I think would be fantastic for games -and- coding -and- general writing.  The catch?  It's a bit unorthodox from a handheld respect in that it has paired keys for shift, Fn, Ctrl and Alt (like a normal keyboard) with the addition that hitting both side's keys at once 'locks' -and- the ability to chord said keys.  It's admittedly outside the box, but I think if you give it some thought to actual use cases it could be a very viable solution.

http://boards.openpandora.org/topic/16872-and-now-for-something-completely-different-keyboard-option/?p=369463

if you state it's 'too weird and not happening', then I'll drop it and see if I can assist with the other proposals.  I would truly appreciate your feedback, even if negative.  

(If anyone not EvilDragon has feedback on my layout - please use the above linked thread so we don't clog this one.  Thank you.)
 
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Neelix

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The problem I have with a centered spacebar idea  is that to do that you would have to sacrifice either the qwerty letter layout or the dedicated number keys.  I have two phones with keyboards, and both of them put the numbers as alternate symbols on the top row of letters and in both cases I find it most inconvenient any time I need to enter numbers.  (especially if I have to alternate numbers and letters)

To put it simply, while I have a preference for the spacebar itself to be centered, I have a stronger preference for a row of dedicated number keys and we can't have both.

- Neelix
 

_wb_

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There is no way to make the space key/bar on the Pyra an easy target for both thumbs. You could have a centered double-width key (as in Grench's proposal), although that puts some rather severe constraints on the rest of the layout, but even in that layout, it is not an easy target for both thumbs. It would rather be a reachable but not very easily reachable for either thumb. To make it really an easy target for both thumbs, it would need to be centered and at least QUADRUPLE-width, like on regular keyboards.
Not true.  Hold your Pandora with your thumbs on the nubs.  Without adjusting your hands, swing them both down/back toward the front edge of the device.  Odds are they'll touch dead center over the V and B keys.  A centered double-width space bar would be VERY easy target for EITHER thumb.
Unless I'm playing NubNub, I very rarely have both of my thumbs on the nubs. More typically, I have them on the dpad and action buttons when playing games or navigating stuff, or when typing text (which is probably the most relevant use case here), they're above roughly S and K (or between SD and JK). According to my feeling, a single-width space key at the penultimate position is somewhat easier to press with the corresponding thumb than a centered double-width space bar. So while a centered space bar would improve the location a LOT for the left thumb, it's also a bit worse for the right thumb.

Anyway I think we agree that a Pandora-style right-aligned double-width space bar is pointless.

Also I fully agree with Neelix: a dedicated number row is very nice to have, and it would be a step backwards compared to the Pandora if we would lose that.
 

Grench

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There is no way to make the space key/bar on the Pyra an easy target for both thumbs. You could have a centered double-width key (as in Grench's proposal), although that puts some rather severe constraints on the rest of the layout, but even in that layout, it is not an easy target for both thumbs. It would rather be a reachable but not very easily reachable for either thumb. To make it really an easy target for both thumbs, it would need to be centered and at least QUADRUPLE-width, like on regular keyboards.
Not true.  Hold your Pandora with your thumbs on the nubs.  Without adjusting your hands, swing them both down/back toward the front edge of the device.  Odds are they'll touch dead center over the V and B keys.  A centered double-width space bar would be VERY easy target for EITHER thumb.
Unless I'm playing NubNub, I very rarely have both of my thumbs on the nubs. More typically, I have them on the dpad and action buttons when playing games or navigating stuff, or when typing text (which is probably the most relevant use case here), they're above roughly S and K (or between SD and JK). According to my feeling, a single-width space key at the penultimate position is somewhat easier to press with the corresponding thumb than a centered double-width space bar. So while a centered space bar would improve the location a LOT for the left thumb, it's also a bit worse for the right thumb.

Anyway I think we agree that a Pandora-style right-aligned double-width space bar is pointless.

Also I fully agree with Neelix: a dedicated number row is very nice to have, and it would be a step backwards compared to the Pandora if we would lose that.
/********/

I had requested that any feedback not from EvilDragon be placed in the proper topic thread - I even linked to it.  _wb_ who is a staff moderator decided to add his negative and misleading feedback about my layout here and I feel it is necessary to defend it.

/********/

So, a center mounted double width space bar -isn't- painful or onerously difficult to reach with either thumb.  I'm glad we have that sorted.

For more information or feedback to this layout please use the following thread.

http://boards.openpandora.org/topic/16872-and-now-for-something-completely-different-keyboard-option/page-8

For a quick link to WTF is he talking about, see this:

http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/4562af9f8d20cc476f635615e09965bc

So, in defense of my keyboard layout in light of the above negative, dismissive and named comments:

Yes, by having a center mounted double space bar we 'loose' the dedicated top-level row of number keys.  Neelix and _wb_ only stated the negative.  In this case, though, what we gain is far greater.   Please read on to understand why a math & science guy (me) is willing to forego a dedicated numeric row.  All of the layouts compromise something.  The larger question is, "What do you gain through accepting this compromise?"

We GAIN a functional numeric pad that is nearly as easy to use.  Hold down the left Fn key with the left thumb - touch any of the numbers in the pad with the right thumb.  Don't consider it to be 2 actions since there is a click-clack rythm to it.  Maybe 1.5 for the first number, 1 for the second if they're in a string.

We GAIN the ability to 'lock' the numeric pad AND the Fn pad in the foreground -at the same time-.  Press both Fn keys and the Numeric keypad AND the F1-F12 keys (arranged in 3 banks of 4) become the top layer.  Think about how many FPS and RPG games there are that rely on having ready access to BOTH sets of these keys.

Oh nooos I need to type a letter and it's Fn-locked to numeric pad and F-key pad!  No worries.  Press both Fn keys to unlock it OR if you only need 1-2 letters, press one Fn key with one thumb (Un-Fn) and press the related letter.  Want a capital letter?  Chord Fn and Shift with one thumb and press the related letter.

Chording?  What is this black magic?  Since the Fn, Ctrl, Alt and Shift keys are represented in a gang on both sides of the keyboard, either thumb can 'chord' by pressing 2 or more of these simultaneously.  Examine the layout and let that sink in.  It means that ANY key OR alt, ctrl or shift version of ANY key can be accessed by chording with either thumb and pressing the desired symbol with the other.

We GAIN simplicity for real world usage.  A simple example of this is Alt+F4.  The close window command.  On the Pandora this requires a funky death grip to press without fumbling the unit (glad to have the wrist strap on mine).  On most of the other layouts presented, it's equally onerous.  On my layout the right thumb chords Fn+Alt and the left thumb presses F4.  Dead simple.

We GAIN proper use and mapping of the shoulder buttons.  The shoulder buttons SHOULD be dedicated mouse buttons 1-4.  Keyboard modifiers have no place there.  There is no need to have 'part time assignment logic'.  No need to remember which shoulder does what under which circumstance.  Simple mouse left, right and since it's a gaming device, mouse 3 and mouse 4 so you can have a strafe key and still have alternate fire and grenades in your FPS game.

We GAIN easy access to keyboard modifiers.  They do not need to be hidden in the center key set or pawned off to shoulder buttons.  They can be actual buttons in their proper placement from a 'normal' keyboard.

We GAIN symmetry and ambidexterity.  It -looks- like a familiar keyboard.  QWERTY on the top row, space centered on the bottom row. Shift, Ctrl and Alt presented on both sides.  Insert and Delete are laid out in conjunction with Home, End, PgUp and PgDn, which should be familiar to anyone.  I feel that this layout is as ambidextrous as possible.  It favors neither left or right handed users without being a compromise.

We GAIN an intuitive keyboard.  When the Pandora came out there were dozens of threads from people not understanding the nub-mouse-click compromise or the keyboard modifiers on the shoulder buttons compromise.  Ease of use shouldn't need a manual.  New users may actually have an easier time of adapting to this layout than existing Pandora users who have already had to retrain their brain once.  This layout looks more like a normal desktop keyboard because it -is- more like a normal desktop keyboard.

We GAIN thumb optimization.  The Pyra is not a touch-type with 10 fingers affair.  Index fingers go on the shoulder buttons.  Middle ring and little finger support the unit from underneath.  The surface keys and controls are, 'All about the thumbs'.  Thumbs are VERY dexterous and tend to be relatively wide.  This design is centered around the idea that a thumb can press multiple keys next to each other at the same time, but there are only 2 of them.  They can't press 3 keys in whole different zones at the same time.  By using chording modifier keys and a zone-based layout (Fkeys for one thumb, numbers for the other, etc...)

So, to dismiss it because it 'looses' the top row dedicated numeric keys is simply a sweeping negative.  It ignores reality and everything that there is to gain.  _wb_ has consistently promoted his preferred layout through negative comments and half truths for the alternatives presented.  Don't be fooled.  There's a lot of good stuff out there.  Examine each proposal on it's own merits.  They -all- have compromises.  The question isn't the compromise, but what do we gain from accepting it?
 
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comradekingu

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"Thumb optimization" for pressing numbers via modifiers... but not optimization in putting punctuation so that you dont have to lift from one place to the other.

You _lose_ dedicated number buttons, and you dont gain a numpad. A numpad is more effective since you can 5-finger type and do operators with one hand, not because its implemented sort-of like that on a two thumb keyboard.

Three buttons is one short of two buttons for f-keys. Since we cant have dedicated F-keys 2 is the simplest. Even more dead simple, whichever way you put it.

There is only one positive about having a dualwide space, and its to save those 2-3 seconds you spend looking for it the first time, that one time. People were touch-typing on their cellphones, and space was located sometimes top, sometimes bottom, but one-key wide.

The idea is to have efficiency, which means less distance traveled. Two wide space worsens that appeal, and dualwide middle is even worse. That its not "difficult" doesnt mean its ideal. Its still something shoehorned in to look like something it isnt.

Its like trying to be more duck-like by quacking.
 
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levi

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If it quacks like a duck...?


@Grench


I've said this before, but I've not seen my argument countered, so I'll restate it in this context. The keyboard modifiers (shift, ctrl etc.) absolutely do belong on the shoulders in their second instance (the other properly labelled on the keyboard) - it makes typing so much easier on the Pandora when holding the pandora. It's not ideal they're not labelled, but it makes typing as a power user much more productive, and I'd rather not lose that personally.


I'm yet to be convinced the mouse buttons belong there at all - although _wb_'s proposal means we can gave both if we restrict the mouse buttons available in the desktop to 2. FPS games can map things however they want - just as they do on Pandora, mapping controls to L shift and L ctrl (the shoulder buttons), so I don't see how they're assigned when not running a game matters at all. I'm not keen on having the mouse buttons only on the shoulders, as I find it harder to double-click a shoulder button than any other sort of button (except a nub control, luckily the Pandora has r-nub down as a dedicated left double click).


When showing my Pandora to friends, I've dreaded having to explain how to left click to people, but so far everyone's just looked a little quizzical, then tried it, and recognise it's a usable control. It's a little harder to explain how things work on the internet I guess, but ultimately I've yet to meet anyone for whom it's not a workable solution when it's been explained to them properly (except for those with broken nubs, of course). Putting mouse clicks on the Pyra's clickable nubs should be easy to explain to anyone, of course.


I do tend to agree with all your other benefits to your layout though. Having both numbers and F-numbers locked at the same time is a significant potential benefit (assuming FN-lock works this time round), and I do think it looks better. Having a space bar accessible to both hands mean you can queue up a space to come with the thumb you're not using to press the current key, so it's quicker. I think those aspects of your design are definitely owed some greater consideration.
 
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ZXDunny

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No offense, fella - and you've obviously put some thought into this - but if there's no number row then I'm nowhere near on board with this one. Need a number row.

D.
 

ible

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I actually think it's pretty innovative, and agree it would be nice for certain games to just put things into dedicated F-mode and get both F-keys and numbers.

The thing I don't like about it is it looks a bit messy with all the alt-keys. I posted a hybrid layout back in the discussion on the final layouts, but I'll repost here. I think it cleans things up nicely (and deals with the Pandora-spacebar location):

http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/414d76f3f378742f493bbe8d9cba3cdb
 

_wb_

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I think Grench's proposal is innovative and interesting. It's just that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages if you ask me.
 

For more information or feedback to this layout please use the following thread.
http://boards.openpandora.org/topic/16872-and-now-for-something-completely-different-keyboard-option/page-8
 
For a quick link to WTF is he talking about, see this:
http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/layouts/4562af9f8d20cc476f635615e09965bc
 
So, in defense of my keyboard layout in light of the above negative, dismissive and named comments:
 
Yes, by having a center mounted double space bar we 'loose' the dedicated top-level row of number keys.  Neelix and _wb_ only stated the negative.  In this case, though, what we gain is far greater.   Please read on to understand why a math & science guy (me) is willing to forego a dedicated numeric row.  All of the layouts compromise something.  The larger question is, "What do you gain through accepting this compromise?"
 
We GAIN a functional numeric pad that is nearly as easy to use.  Hold down the left Fn key with the left thumb - touch any of the numbers in the pad with the right thumb.  Don't consider it to be 2 actions since there is a click-clack rythm to it.  Maybe 1.5 for the first number, 1 for the second if they're in a string.
The Fn is not what bothers me -- if it can be locked or if it's at a shoulder button, I don't care much about having to hold Fn. The main problem is that 1) it's a handheld so you are using your right thumb, not 5 fingers, which takes away most of the efficiency and certainly all of the muscle memory of a numpad; and 2) a numpad with staggered keys is not really a numpad.
 

We GAIN the ability to 'lock' the numeric pad AND the Fn pad in the foreground -at the same time-.  Press both Fn keys and the Numeric keypad AND the F1-F12 keys (arranged in 3 banks of 4) become the top layer.  Think about how many FPS and RPG games there are that rely on having ready access to BOTH sets of these keys.
Fn-Lock in itself is something that can be implemented somehow on any layout.
Granted, having the option to make F-keys and numeric keys available simultaneously as dedicated keys is a minor advantage, but it is outweighed in my opinion by the disadvantage of not having the option to have all of the alphanumerical keys available simultaneously.
 

Chording?  What is this black magic?  Since the Fn, Ctrl, Alt and Shift keys are represented in a gang on both sides of the keyboard, either thumb can 'chord' by pressing 2 or more of these simultaneously.  Examine the layout and let that sink in.  It means that ANY key OR alt, ctrl or shift version of ANY key can be accessed by chording with either thumb and pressing the desired symbol with the other.
As the Pandora experience shows, using shoulder buttons to chord modifiers is a very effective method, in my opinion even more effective than symmetrically doubled-up modifier keys. For example, imagine you want to type the word ALL in capital letters. For just three letters, caps lock is not worth the trouble (actually I never use caps lock at all). In my layout (or on the Pandora for that matter), I just hold down L1 and press A L L. In your layout, you would first hold RShift, press A, then hold LShift and press L L. Less effective. The reason is obvious: you have only two thumbs, while if you involve the shoulder buttons, you can also use the two index fingers (and perhaps the middle fingers too when there are 4 shoulder buttons?).
 

We GAIN simplicity for real world usage.  A simple example of this is Alt+F4.  The close window command.  On the Pandora this requires a funky death grip to press without fumbling the unit (glad to have the wrist strap on mine).  On most of the other layouts presented, it's equally onerous.  On my layout the right thumb chords Fn+Alt and the left thumb presses F4.  Dead simple.
In my proposal, Alt-F4 is L2+R2+4. This should be about as simple as doing Ctrl-Shift-R (using L1+R1) on the Pandora. Hardly a funky death grip. Alt-F4 is cumbersome on the Pandora only because Fn and Alt are not available on the shoulder buttons.
 

We GAIN proper use and mapping of the shoulder buttons.  The shoulder buttons SHOULD be dedicated mouse buttons 1-4.  Keyboard modifiers have no place there.  There is no need to have 'part time assignment logic'.  No need to remember which shoulder does what under which circumstance.  Simple mouse left, right and since it's a gaming device, mouse 3 and mouse 4 so you can have a strafe key and still have alternate fire and grenades in your FPS game.
I'm in favor of labeling the shoulder buttons with the modifier they correspond to -- this is indeed not something that you're just supposed to remember or read in some manual. I think most FPS games allow you to remap keys and buttons, so it does not matter much what the default function of the keys is. Everyone has different tastes as to how FPS games should be controlled anyway.
 

We GAIN easy access to keyboard modifiers.  They do not need to be hidden in the center key set or pawned off to shoulder buttons.  They can be actual buttons in their proper placement from a 'normal' keyboard.
The shoulder buttons are by far the most easily accessed buttons of the device (at least in handheld mode), since they are not thumb-controlled so they can always be pressed regardless of where your thumbs happen to be. Your proposal does not have easier access to the modifiers, it just makes them more visible.

What actual keycodes should the center keys labeled START, SELECT, PAUSE produce in your proposal? If you want them to be available in non-native games, they should correspond to some standard keyboard key.
 

We GAIN symmetry and ambidexterity.  It -looks- like a familiar keyboard.  QWERTY on the top row, space centered on the bottom row. Shift, Ctrl and Alt presented on both sides.  Insert and Delete are laid out in conjunction with Home, End, PgUp and PgDn, which should be familiar to anyone.  I feel that this layout is as ambidextrous as possible.  It favors neither left or right handed users without being a compromise.
Are you claiming that my proposal does favor either left or right handed users? I think the left-bias caused by the left-aligned letter block roughly compensates for the right-bias caused by having space at the right hand side, so I wonder which hand (or rather which thumb) my proposal is biased towards.
 

We GAIN an intuitive keyboard.  When the Pandora came out there were dozens of threads from people not understanding the nub-mouse-click compromise or the keyboard modifiers on the shoulder buttons compromise.  Ease of use shouldn't need a manual.  New users may actually have an easier time of adapting to this layout than existing Pandora users who have already had to retrain their brain once.  This layout looks more like a normal desktop keyboard because it -is- more like a normal desktop keyboard.
To be honest, to me your proposal looks more intimidating and counter-intuitive than any of the other proposals I've seen so far. I think the most important things to obtain an intuitive layout are:

  • to correctly label all keys and buttons (the Pandora has a problem since the actual function of the shoulder buttons and action buttons is not labeled at all; neither is Compose, and Del is labeled but does not work)
  • to avoid looking too cluttered by having too many labels per key. My proposal has 1 or 2 labels on most keys; only the number row has 3 labels. Your proposal has several keys with four labels.
  • to put as many keys as possible in a location at or near where you would expect it to be on a normal keyboard. In this respect, your layout is better for the Ctrl and Alt modifiers, but worse for nearly all other keys (punctuation, symbols, F-keys, Tab)
  • to avoid needing two modifiers to input one standard ASCII symbol. In my layout, all ASCII symbols are either dedicated, Shifted, or Meta keys. In your layout, you need Shift+Fn for % < ; _ * and |. Sure, it's only a chord away, but still, you conceptually have 4 layers of symbols instead of just 3.
We GAIN thumb optimization.  The Pyra is not a touch-type with 10 fingers affair.  Index fingers go on the shoulder buttons.  Middle ring and little finger support the unit from underneath. The surface keys and controls are, 'All about the thumbs'.  Thumbs are VERY dexterous and tend to be relatively wide.  This design is centered around the idea that a thumb can press multiple keys next to each other at the same time, but there are only 2 of them.  They can't press 3 keys in whole different zones at the same time.  By using chording modifier keys and a zone-based layout (Fkeys for one thumb, numbers for the other, etc...)
I don't see why your layout would be more "thumb-optimized" than any other layout. By refusing to use shoulder buttons for anything other than mouse clicks, I think it is less thumb-optimized, since you are giving unnecessary work for the thumbs that could in fact be off-loaded to the index fingers.
 
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