Saturday, July 23, 2005


I'm no genius

spot the problem Posted by Picasa

I admit to being bored by keyboards. I've used dozens, maybe hundreds over the years, and have rarely encountered anything too troubling with any of them. Sure, some feel a bit better, and they all have subtle differences in layout, but so what? I have never been troubled by repetitive stress, and have therefore never been that curious about premium keyboards.

For complicated and annoying reasons I was forced to replace a perfectly fine keyboard with a USB one for one of my computer set ups. This was not a gratification purchase, so I went for cheap. I located the cheapest USB keyboard sold in New Zealand, made by a company ironically called "Genius."

I noticed that the keyboard had a rather small "shift" key on the right. No big deal, I'll get used to it. I overestimated how plastic my brain is. The keyboard proved to be the most annoying peripheral I have ever used. I kept jumping around on the screen. No matter how much I tried to hit the shift key, I kept failing. I slowly realized (duh) that the shift key was located next to the up arrow, and that both these keys had up arrows on them. What Genius laid this out? And what silly usability person bought it? I now approach keyboards with a new humility.

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