Jul 27, 2010

Bad Keyboard Design

I have to wonder at times what goes through designer’s heads and wether they use their own products.  Have a look at the following keyboard for a HP machine I’ve been given to use when on site.


Look at the size of that Shift key on the left there. The thing is about half it’s normal size, which of course means I keep hitting the key next to it far too often and screwing up my typing.  I have to train my hands to perform more finger gymnastics than is normal, and can’t easily slide my left thumb into position like I normally would (maybe I shouldn’t use my thumb for shift, but it’s a habit I’ve picked up from gaming and it’s hard to overcome).

But  maybe there’s a reason why they did it.  A reason why they cut the left shift key in half but kept the right hand one full sized?  Oh, there’s it is! It’s so they could add an extra (and duplicated) key on the keyboard! I for one know that the backslash and pipe characters are easily the most commonly used ones in my arsenal.  On my laptop the backslash key is so worn away from use I can hardly make out the symbols on it any more.  It’s worse than even the ‘e’ and return keys!  Thank goodness keyboard usability was sacrificed to add an extra one of those puppies!  Thank you HP! Thank you!

OK. Rant over.  Time to go steal a keyboard from someone else in the office, and while I do that why don’t you let me know what the most annoying keyboard design is that you’ve used or seen?


  1. The worst one I've used had the power management keys placed above the arrow keys. A bit like this-
    but the power keys were proper keys, and pushed the other keys up.

    Try to press "End", the computer sleeps. Try to press "Delete", the computer shuts down.

    Fixed it with a screw driver.

  2. hey man wheres the love? ahaha

    some poor guy/girl might write lots of handwritten, pipe delimited CSVs.... you've obviously been given this their keyboard... and they're having to suffer today without their pipe-loving keyboard

    but i must say i appreciate that you didn't bring my oober-ninja work G15 keyboard up... hahaha

  3. Oh Lenovo laptop keyboards. See Daniel Moth's picture:
    from his blog post

  4. I worked with a client recently that used those exact keyboards. I ended up bringing one of these bad boys in instead:


  5. I had one of those keyboards for a day too. Damn annoying to keep hitting that \ all the time

  6. I cannot agree with you more! I too was issued the new HP keyboard at work. Thankfully, I did not have to steal an old keyboard. I just swapped mine with an old keyboard of an intern who was leaving anyway.. If they wanted an extra key, why not add a generic key next to the arrow keys and let users map it to anything they want?

  7. The laptop keyboards of different companies are designed in an entirely different manner, so one cannot think of replacing the defective keypad with the newer one unless he finds the best match. Therefore, it becomes necessary to note down your laptop model number and ask the supplier to provide the matching keyboard accordingly.