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Author Topic: Balanced Keyboard Layout  (Read 116934 times)

sdothum

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1400 on: 2018-Jul-27 11:47 »
rolls with thumb feel weird..

Letters on thumb are 'i' and 's'. Space is on home middle finger.

I haven't found the thumb H awkward.. but that could just be me. The thumb I is interesting -- it shaves 1% off the +Effort across the board against my thumb H (with a simple swap to create home row QHEA) on klatest. Must give it a try..

When you go radical you don't hold back! I'm not sure I could lose the thumb Space key..
« Last Edit: 2018-Jul-27 11:56 by sdothum »

Den

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1401 on: 2018-Jul-27 14:10 »
Thumb rolls could feel better only if their size and placement exactly conform to one's hand. Alas I don't think Kinesis is it. Ideally they are 1u just like other keys, and closer.

Regardless, thumbs are not known for nimbleness, so overuse may slow you down a tad. Being anchored to the thumb would also adversely affect the agility and freedom of movement of the other fingers.
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iandoug

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1402 on: 2018-Jul-27 15:24 »
Thumb rolls could feel better only if their size and placement exactly conform to one's hand.

I came to the same conclusion about the arrow keys the other day.
Actually the whole Ctrl/Shift/Insert/Delete/Home/End/Arrows cluster, that I use so much.

And I need it one-handed because my left hand is typically on the trackball when doing those operations.

Den

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1403 on: 2018-Jul-27 19:21 »
It's ironic that the most common character (space) is typed by a slow finger (thumb). Wouldnt it be better to move it to a faster finger? In fact, we should ask, does the thumb deserve a role in typing (like the pinky)?

It would work for me to replace the space with numlock. To provide easier access to numpad. One might also put arrows and nav keys in the same layer, on the other hand opposite from the numpad.
« Last Edit: 2018-Jul-27 19:25 by Den »

iandoug

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1404 on: 2018-Jul-28 04:00 »
It's ironic that the most common character (space) is typed by a slow finger (thumb). Wouldnt it be better to move it to a faster finger? In fact, we should ask, does the thumb deserve a role in typing (like the pinky)?

We did, see attached. Also
beakl-clp-0.en.matrix
seelpy-1-lowscore.en.ergolinear

and Schizo put space on Shift-AltGr layer
SchizoKBD AltGrSpc
SchizoKBD shifted AltGrSpc

which all my logic screams against.... :-)   [ ... mmm these two look the same ... must check if I made a mistake renaming them and lost one]

It would work for me to replace the space with numlock. To provide easier access to numpad. One might also put arrows and nav keys in the same layer, on the other hand opposite from the numpad.

I'm wondering if possibly the Kinesis form factor / key positioning is playing a part here. Would you still have the same issues on a Matrix layout?

In terms of "Malt theory" (for lack of a better term) the thumbs are strong and should be used for common letters.

In terms of "Ian theory", (for lack of a better term), the Direction of Travel for thumb keys is All Wrong. The natural motion for us chimpanzees with opposable thumbs is towards the palm, not at right angles to the plane of the palm, although clearly that is also "doable", as anyone who has played thumb drums on their desk can confirm. Or keyboard users and pianists, for that matter :-)

In my "stick keys on paper and see how it feels" experiments I came to realise that clusters like on Maltron or Kinesis were awkward ... the thumb can't easily navigate those clusters. (see other attached). Or maybe just my thumbs. So I reduced them and eventually ended up with Ergolinear structure. Where Thumb is used, but does not move sideways much, just mostly up and down.

I think the issue with Space on Thumb on ANSI/ISO layouts is that they typically make it HARDER to press than regular keys. Which makes it slower. And strains the thumbs more. I've seen keyboard designs where the designer deliberately picks a heavier switch for the thumbs. Never understood that.


Agapium

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1405 on: 2018-Jul-28 23:35 »
Been tinkering around for about a month trying to make a layout that I think is 'perfect'. Recently I feel like I've achieved satori, which is also what I affectionately call my layout of 4 years, and today I applied your BEAKL theory to what I was building upon, and I like the outcome. I look forward to trying to this out. Thanks for you and everyone else's efforts.
Code: [Select]
z c p f k    u o r q
w s t h d    a e n y
v g b m x    i   l j

iandoug

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1406 on: 2018-Jul-29 03:45 »
and I like the outcome.

Yes, looks promising. Some interesting ideas. Can you please post full layout when you're done? :-)

Thanks, Ian

Agapium

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1407 on: 2018-Jul-29 07:21 »
I'm only focused on the letters, but if I'm ever completely satisfied, of course!

Again, keep up the good work guys.

Code: [Select]
z c l d k    u o f q
w s n t p    a e r y
b m x g v    i   h j

z c r m k    u o f q
w s n t p    a e l y
b g x d v    i   h j
« Last Edit: 2018-Jul-29 09:42 by Agapium »

sdothum

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1408 on: 2018-Jul-29 15:10 »
X
Code: [Select]
z c l d k    u o f q
w s n t p    a e r y
b m x g v    i   h j

z c r m k    u o f q
w s n t p    a e l y
b g x d v    i   h j

Could you explain the relationships between these layouts and your previous post?

Agapium

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1409 on: 2018-Jul-29 17:21 »
Could you explain the relationships between these layouts and your previous post?
What I think is an improvement over the previous layout's post and a variation of it.

Agapium

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1410 on: 2018-Aug-01 01:02 »
Code: [Select]
q p o u    b d l h z
y i e a x  c s t n w
j     k    g f m r v
« Last Edit: 2018-Aug-04 22:18 by Agapium »

iandoug

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Programming the board
« Reply #1411 on: 2018-Aug-01 14:07 »
@sdothum

Hi. Posting publically in case someone else can help (or it can help someone else).

Finally trying to get my keyboard up and running. I had previously done some configs in QMK, and after the usual fun and games, managed to get it compiled and written to the Teensy 2.0++.

Which bricked it. Reset it by rebooting and holding switch for 15 seconds while rebooting.

At that point I realised that QMK is not user-friendly, a keyboard config system should not be having end users directly editing C code to make it work. It should work via one config file.

So then stumbled upon exactly that on DT, where Soarer had done something like that a few years back.

I followed the brief "big dummy's" guide and flashed the appropriate hex file, rebooted it, and hid_listen this time picked up the Teensy.

But pressing keys does nothing ... neither in hid_listen or xev.

Which is a problem because I have no idea where to start trying to debug this.

Possibilities:
1. my wiring sucks
2. the diodes are the other way around to what the programs expect
3. I fried something when soldering in the wires
4. general incompatibility between Soarer's stuff or QMK, and my grid layout.
5. I'm using a pin on the board that I'm not supposed to. Or not using one that I should be. But don't think so.

Trying to figure out where to start to find the problem. Then can look for solutions...

Any ideas welcome .. :)
I need some way to verify that the hardware is all okay and correct. Pressing keys does nothing. I would be happy with "anything" because that at least says something works.

Thanks, Ian

sdothum

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Re: Programming the board
« Reply #1412 on: 2018-Aug-01 15:37 »
@sdothum

Trying to figure out where to start to find the problem. Then can look for solutions...

Hello Ian,

I know my way around QMK well enough to make it dance but I have not built any hand wired boards (on my todo list).

I suggest you post an SOS at https://www.reddit.com/r/olkb/. Builders there should be able to provide hw debugging advice.

Once everything is electrically sound, I can offer QMK assistance.

Steven
« Last Edit: 2018-Aug-01 16:21 by sdothum »

iandoug

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Re: Programming the board
« Reply #1413 on: 2018-Aug-01 16:43 »

I suggest you post an SOS at https://www.reddit.com/r/olkb/. Builders there should be able to provide hw debugging advice.


Thanks, was wondering where the help channel was. Let me first try to make sense of Soarer's docs, as they're apparently quite good.

Will revert.

iandoug

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Re: Programming the board
« Reply #1414 on: 2018-Aug-02 10:49 »
Will revert.

Discovered I had specified the wrong chip in the configs.... so now keyboard is "live". Keypresses work, most letters are okay. Some to fix, like the hH which is on the space key, but I was planning on letting xkb handle that anyway ..., and all the other AltGr letters.
And have two Ms and no W.

Two of the LEDs are on permanently, will need to figure that out. Want to use LEDs for
1. Insert Mode is on
2. Caps lock. Or possibly "AltGr is pushed" ...
3. Scroll lock (I think).

Originally had 4 LEDs, the 4th was supposed to be for the built-in Pomodoro timer (still need to figure out how to do that....)

There's no Num lock function at all.

Going to be a huge learning curve getting used to the different form factor and letter layout....



sdothum

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Re: Programming the board
« Reply #1415 on: 2018-Aug-02 18:33 »
Going to be a huge learning curve getting used to the different form factor and letter layout....

Now the real fun begins, as possibilities beyond mere keymaps open up to you with QMK... :-)

Good luck!

sdothum

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1416 on: 2018-Aug-03 16:20 »
In terms of "Malt theory" (for lack of a better term) the thumbs are strong and should be used for common letters.

To continue the thumb letter conversation, this layout may finally hold long enough for me to get proficient on..

Code: [Select]
; Y O U Z   G D N M X
Q H E A .   C T R S W
J - ' K ,   B P L F V
        I   _

It emphasizes the finger rolls I am predisposed towards and scores nicely on klatest too :-) Swapping the Q and J betters the score even further by a hair...

Code: [Select]
; Y O U Z   G D N M X
J H E A .   C T R S W
Q - ' K ,   B P L F V
        I   _

...and rolls nicely as well.

My personal preference is for the Q on home row for the trigrams.
« Last Edit: 2018-Aug-05 19:19 by sdothum »

iandoug

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Feedback on ErgoLinear layout etc
« Reply #1417 on: 2018-Aug-06 17:05 »
Hi

So my X6.5 layout on ergolinear is up and running and using it to type this (slowly)

Pic attached. Assorted comments:

Current version was supposed to be finished in black leather but I damaged that layer and more trying to widen the holes to put the pins through. They were originally going to be screws. So ended up with fallback superwood which does not look that great. It is partially assembled.

My carefully calculated split angle is too steep, combined with my short pinkies makes hitting i and r awkward.

h on space is not as awkward as I thought it would be.

Linear layout feels much better than ANSI staggered.

Tend to hit capslock by accident.

AltGr and shift on same thumb not strictly legal for KLE. Having one shift on thumb also a new experience.

ctrl-c v x z t n s r q f w p all work fine on right hand.

Still struggling to get Function keys to work.

Must still sort out LEDs... and blue one is way too bright.

Arrow keys and other nav need a rethink.

FWIW, I am basically letting QMK send qwerty scan codes and then remapping  them in xkb.

Okay all this hardwired-brain-rewiring is mentally exhausting.

Den

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Re: Feedback on ErgoLinear layout etc
« Reply #1418 on: 2018-Aug-06 18:55 »
Why didn't you go X7.1H?

iandoug

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Re: Feedback on ErgoLinear layout etc
« Reply #1419 on: 2018-Aug-07 01:14 »
Why didn't you go X7.1H?

Keys were already printed for 6.5.

This is essentially a prototype for finding what is good and bad about the form factor.
And a learning curve in hardware design and construction.

Some key choices are annoying already, maybe because I'm typing slowly and more aware of same finger than on qwerty.
eg the GOY and AD and CT. Also KE especially on this forum.

Once I adjust to this form factor and sort out the remaining hardware/software issues I will try other layouts.

« Last Edit: 2018-Aug-07 01:22 by iandoug »

iandoug

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1420 on: 2018-Aug-07 01:58 »
I see X7.1 addresses my same finger issues above. Will have to print some stickers...


Den

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1422 on: 2018-Aug-14 02:21 »
We did, see attached. Also
beakl-clp-0.en.matrix
seelpy-1-lowscore.en.ergolinear

The CLP/SC format actually overruses the thumbs, which is opposite of what we want. unfortunately hard to reduce thumb usage for these.

can there be a better balance?

brewing a combination pinkyless + low thumb usage.

1. No pinkies for typing. One may reassign other utility functions, like editing or navigation.

2. Low thumb. Ideally 5% usage per thumb. so no space. Probably modifiers includiig shift and altgr, due to next point.

3. Fewest keys to cover ASCII visible characters.  95 keys to start. but digits will be accessed on numpad or number row. So only need 85 chars. so need 29 keys with 3 layers, or 22 keys with 4 layers.

Given these constraints, then, pinkyless suggests 22 keys on 4 layers. this is doable with just shift and altgr, the home block, plus two more keys per hand. probably home pinky and index inside column. (if making room for arrows on bottom left hand, left hand will also need another index inside key.)

the main layer should hold the most common chars, including space, comma, and period. less common letters will be relegated to secondary layers. thumbs will be for shift and altgr. thumb usage should be quite low since they access less common chars only. unlike CLP/SC which used modifiers for common chars.

iandoug

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1423 on: 2018-Aug-14 04:35 »
1. No pinkies for typing. One may reassign other utility functions, like editing or navigation.
2. Low thumb. Ideally 5% usage per thumb. so no space. Probably modifiers includiig shift and altgr, due to next point.
3. Fewest keys to cover ASCII visible characters.  95 keys to start. but digits will be accessed on numpad or number row. So only need 85 chars. so need 29 keys with 3 layers, or 22 keys with 4 layers.

Given these constraints, then, pinkyless suggests 22 keys on 4 layers. this is doable with just shift and altgr, the home block, plus two more keys per hand. probably home pinky and index inside column. (if making room for arrows on bottom left hand, left hand will also need another index inside key.)

This post may end up being quite long. Read twice. :-)

Coincidentally I've gone back to the drawing board as well, now that I've identified some issues with ErgoLinear 1 form factor.

1. Years ago when I first saw the Maltron boards, I thought the central numpad was a good idea. Suitable for both lefties and righties. So that got integrated into my thinking at some deep level.
Now however, having built one and tested it a bit, I feel that it's like trying to make a shoe that fits both feet. What seems like "good for either" is actually "good for neither".

I wanted a lefty-righty layout for possible selling purposes. However it would be better to have proper lefty designs, just like lefty scissors. One design does not suit both. And since I'm right-handed, the num pad goes back on the right.

I like to have a numpad for when I need it, and don't like extra separate ones.

2. Consequence: The F-keys, which were integrated into the central numpad, now need to come back. I use F2/F3/F4 quite a bit, the others hardly ever. But I accept that some other users/programs may use them a lot. On the plus side, they take over the 4th row so are much closer than on ANSI/ISO.

3. Consequence 2: the navigation buttons in the centre also suck. Same issues: in theory ambidextrous, in reality awkward. So I'm contemplating a joystick for the arrow keys. I think a playstation-style will maybe work better than an thumbpoint style, but it must be switches not potentiometers, and struggling to find that (and with decent switch life -- 10k presses ain't gonna cut it.)

4. Consequence 4: other nav keys also need to move. I need shift close to arrows (sorted), and ctrl-home or ctrl-end must also be easy. So should shift-home and shift-end. So have ended up with something similar/borrowed from Den's matrix layouts, but split between hands. The hand can drop down and work them with index and middle, while thumb can hit shift and pinky hit ctrl.

5. The two thumb keys next to each other were awkward, particularly turning the thumb in. So moved it down and out for more natural thumb movement.

6. Escape key moves to centre, and added Compose key. Don't know if the EMACs/Vim users use Escape, I know they complain about `~ key position.

7. Put backspace back in similar place to ANSI/ISO mainly due to muscle memory looking for it there. Put Delete in mirror spot on left, dunno if viable.

8. Layout now X7.1. I know the score on Klatest was good, but my mind is still not convinced that h on AltGr is such a good idea. Time will tell.

9. X7.1 actually goes quite a way to meeting your requirements above .... the pinky only has minor characters (except when programming C-style languages). To meet your requirements I think you will have to put all/most of the punctuation on AltGr and Shift-AltGr. I'll play around with designs like that in the next few days once I catch up with current tasks.

Screenshots of current thinking (work in progress), with gamepad style joystick and thumbstick style.

[Aside: still struggling with xkb to get it to do all I want, in particular putting the Function keys on the numpad, and menu/OS on the Escape key... xkb just doesn't like what I tell it. Must be some other config file overriding my instructions.]

Den

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1424 on: 2018-Aug-14 09:11 »
In terms of "Ian theory", (for lack of a better term), the Direction of Travel for thumb keys is All Wrong. The natural motion for us chimpanzees with opposable thumbs is towards the palm, not at right angles to the plane of the palm, although clearly that is also "doable", as anyone who has played thumb drums on their desk can confirm. Or keyboard users and pianists, for that matter :-)

One idea is to have the thumb area connected to the main board with a hinge. The hinge allows it to be adjusted from 0 to 90° (or more). Default state it looks flat to normal users. Advanced and ergonomic-conscious users can tilt to their desired angle.


iandoug

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1425 on: 2018-Aug-14 16:20 »

3. Fewest keys to cover ASCII visible characters.  95 keys to start. but digits will be accessed on numpad or number row. So only need 85 chars. so need 29 keys with 3 layers, or 22 keys with 4 layers.


Can you clarify re digits? (apart from numpad). You want separate row for digits? But digits only, no puncts on them?

thanks, Ian

Den

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1426 on: 2018-Aug-14 16:59 »
Can you clarify re digits? (apart from numpad). You want separate row for digits? But digits only, no puncts on them?

thanks, Ian

A row above the letters. It's kind of far, but you don't need to shift to type the numbers. Putting puncs there would require extra shift and extra distance, so putting puncs on number row is far from ideal.

iandoug

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1427 on: 2018-Aug-15 19:00 »
brewing a combination pinkyless + low thumb usage.

Thumb use probably too high for you. But does better than X7.1 on at least some of the inputs. (Klatest scoring)

Work in progress. Don't laugh about the Shift keys ... was only thing that worked.

I think in some of the CLP/Essie layouts we had space on right middle or somesuch, which created enormous problems about what to put above and below, to avoid high same-finger.
Net result was that those keys became effectively underused.

So am not sure that taking space off thumb will be ideal.


Den

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1428 on: 2018-Aug-15 22:34 »
Code: [Select]
BEAKL PLLT x1

 iuo  wmdn
ye_ag hrtsp
 , .   lcf

Same finger is not bad. Here only U on same key as SPACE. Below it is reserved for UP arrow.

KLAtest I just made the thumb penalty score almost as bad as pinky. now you can see the difference in finger usage versus space on thumb.

« Last Edit: 2018-Aug-16 14:53 by Den »

iandoug

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Re: Balanced Keyboard Layout
« Reply #1429 on: Yesterday at 10:41 AM »
KLAtest I just made the thumb penalty score almost as bad as pinky. now you can see the difference in finger usage versus space on thumb.

Um, so you are abandoning Arensito and Malt theory in favour of Scholes theory, and want to basically type with two/three fingers each hand? :-)

Just checking. :-)

 

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