Author Topic: HSA, a new keycap profile by JTK  (Read 3687 times)

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Offline menuhin

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Re: HSA, a new keycap profile by JTK
« Reply #50 on: Tue, 13 August 2019, 02:17:33 »
while technically correct this chart doesn't account for the short-SA profiles that have become more popular since it was made

but like says in the post: spherical angled
Popularity is not the point here.

Just shortening SA keycaps still leaves an incorrect keycap profile which only properly functions as intended when attached to keyswitches with tilted stems. When stuck onto MX (or similar) switches with straight stems, the result is a degraded/corrupted experience.

The original designers of an SA-style keycap shape were experts at IBM and Honeywell in the 1960s who did serious ergonomics research. Their work was copied by everyone else in the industry, most of whom did not have the same level of understanding.

The proper way to adapt SA-type keycaps for straight-stemmed switches (irrespective of the height) is to systematically rotate the tops so that a proper “stairstep” pattern is maintained between the home row and the two rows above. For inspiration look at the spherical keycaps used on Alps switches in Canon typewriters of the early 1980s, or look at signature plastics’s SS or DSS profile (if someone made a copy of SP’s DSS profile – which is basically this HSA idea but done correctly, but for which the molds sadly no longer exist – that would be amazing). Or for that matter look at “cherry profile” or “alps profile” cylindrical caps, etc.

Using SA profile as-is or just reducing its height is a poor choice, ergonomically. It will slow down typing and reduce accuracy.

It’s great to bring back good ideas and a pretty aesthetic from the 60s–70s, but people should be examining the design from first principles and figuring out *why* the old idea worked that way, not just copying a corrupted variant of the superficial form without understanding.

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Offline eskimojo14

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Re: HSA, a new keycap profile by JTK
« Reply #51 on: Tue, 13 August 2019, 04:59:13 »
...
(if someone made a copy of SP’s DSS profile – which is basically this HSA idea but done correctly, but for which the molds sadly no longer exist – that would be amazing).
Didn't SP recently recommission their DSS profile? DSS Dolch

Offline zslane

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Re: HSA, a new keycap profile by JTK
« Reply #52 on: Tue, 13 August 2019, 11:51:11 »
Using SA profile as-is or just reducing its height is a poor choice, ergonomically. It will slow down typing and reduce accuracy.

While quite probably true, it is true in the most irrelevant sense, at least for me (and probably the vast majority of folks).

I touch-type nearly 90wpm with enough accuracy to get by quite nicely, even on SA keycaps and today's straight switches and plates. There is nothing in the way of ergonomics that would be so beneficial to me as to warrant a complete change to the profile, and in fact, I'm so used to it by now that anything which strayed too far from it would probably feel weird and uncomfortable and would keep me away from it. I doubt very many people would care or notice the so-called ergonomic benefits of a "properly" sculpted profile.

IBM designed their beamspring keyboards for an era when being a typist was practically a profession in and of itself. Outside of coders and bloggers, nobody types for a living today, and those that do don't need a few more WPM to make their jobs easier or lives better.

Offline Puddsy

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Re: HSA, a new keycap profile by JTK
« Reply #53 on: Tue, 13 August 2019, 18:19:32 »
while technically correct this chart doesn't account for the short-SA profiles that have become more popular since it was made

but like says in the post: spherical angled
Popularity is not the point here.

Just shortening SA keycaps still leaves an incorrect keycap profile which only properly functions as intended when attached to keyswitches with tilted stems. When stuck onto MX (or similar) switches with straight stems, the result is a degraded/corrupted experience.

The original designers of an SA-style keycap shape were experts at IBM and Honeywell in the 1960s who did serious ergonomics research. Their work was copied by everyone else in the industry, most of whom did not have the same level of understanding.

The proper way to adapt SA-type keycaps for straight-stemmed switches (irrespective of the height) is to systematically rotate the tops so that a proper “stairstep” pattern is maintained between the home row and the two rows above. For inspiration look at the spherical keycaps used on Alps switches in Canon typewriters of the early 1980s, or look at signature plastics’s SS or DSS profile (if someone made a copy of SP’s DSS profile – which is basically this HSA idea but done correctly, but for which the molds sadly no longer exist – that would be amazing). Or for that matter look at “cherry profile” or “alps profile” cylindrical caps, etc.

Using SA profile as-is or just reducing its height is a poor choice, ergonomically. It will slow down typing and reduce accuracy.

It’s great to bring back good ideas and a pretty aesthetic from the 60s–70s, but people should be examining the design from first principles and figuring out *why* the old idea worked that way, not just copying a corrupted variant of the superficial form without understanding.

i'll bring this up to buddha

don't know if anything can be done since the molds are already nearly made, but it's a very good point
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: HSA, a new keycap profile by JTK
« Reply #54 on: Tue, 20 August 2019, 02:33:20 »
Didn't SP recently recommission their DSS profile? DSS Dolch

Oh wow, that’s awesome. Someone finally answering my question from 2014 https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=62417

Maybe I can finally try this out:



Anyone who likes old IBM beam spring keyboards should be able to get something quite close with DSS. Comparison:
« Last Edit: Tue, 20 August 2019, 02:39:28 by jacobolus »