Author Topic: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout  (Read 4608 times)

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Offline PieterGen

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Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« on: Tue, 20 January 2015, 05:31:46 »
I'm puzzling on a layout, I would like feedback/advice/ideas.

- the upper 3 rows are finished, the questions are about the lower 2 rows: the Z row and the Spacebar row.
- the layout is based on a PCB, I'm not exactly sure yet how much room there is for changes, but let's dream & design anyway
- I use a custom version of the German/English) AdnW layout,  which in turn is based on Dvorak's ideas. My "home fingers"  are riea  dtns
- don't look too much at the labels of the keys, please focus on the hardware

- I would like maximal hand separation
- I would like to use Shift with the thumb



But maybe there are too many keys on the Z row, and this would be better?


Also, I'm not sure if the middle space bar key is reachable on this wide layout. If so, why not reserve it for rare stuff (Scroll Lock, anyone?   :))  )  and make it even smaller, ginving more space to the other two space bars? 



Here are the designs.

Ideas, suggestions? Better ways to do this? Please post them!  Thanks.
« Last Edit: Tue, 20 January 2015, 05:34:31 by PieterGen »

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 20 January 2015, 07:11:27 »
sigh.. 

You're solving a miniscule problem, while ignoring the larger picture.


Your goal is ergonomics,  Yet you're still one GIANT LEAP short because you've elected to remain on what's merely a fashionably incumbent design, the rectangle..

It's wholly inadequate and destructive to one's hands..  Regardless of what keys go where.


Offline jeb

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 20 January 2015, 07:43:59 »
I've been looking into a symmetric stagger design too, and your design with the three keys in the Z row matches mine exactly except the bottom row.

Where do you usually hit the spacebar on a "traditional" keyboard? I think that's going to influence what would work for you. I think what you have is usable, but it depends on your specific preferences as far as what's optimal.

For the bottom row, I would give each thumb three keys, depending on how variable your thumb presses are. Looking at mine, from the center out I was thinking about three 1.25x keys. The middle one would be a neutral position, the one toward the outside of the board would still be comfortable, and the one to the inside of the board could be slight stretch, depending on hand position, so they likely wouldn't be used for modifiers. But, you may already be intending on hitting Mod7/Alt with the thumbs, in which case you wouldn't want them pushed out any further.

If I were to keep a three center key layout like you have, I'd want the middle to be space and the flanking keys to be modifiers, so I'd probably want the middle key a bit larger--maybe 3x. (At which point I'd say, that's a giant key, why not split that into two? Because I always want more keys.)

Offline berserkfan

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 20 January 2015, 07:44:10 »
Pieter, you really should do a split layout. EG look at samwisekoi's GH36 for ideas.

If you don't, I find it hard to take claims of ergonomics seriously. I have shoulders 50cm apart and am not even a particularly big man. If you're Northern European as your name suggests, you surely understand that in a region where 60cm and broader shoulders are normal, a keyboard that makes people bring their hands together is not comfortable and obsolete.
Most of the modding can be done on your own once you break through the psychological barriers.

Offline PieterGen

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 20 January 2015, 08:43:07 »
Yes, I know guys, split is better. That's why I will build a split one too. This rectangular sym stagger one is to be my portable keyboard.

BTW, yes I'm NW European (Netherlands), but I'm skinny.

Offline juyanith

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 20 January 2015, 09:03:56 »
While I understand the comments about a split keyboard, I think a symmetric stagger and added thumb keys are a nice improvement to the standard keyboard layout and certainly a worthy design where space, portability or simplicity are more important. Like everything else it is a matter of which set of compromises best fit the problem.

As to your questions, I don't think the change to the thumb row adds anything. In fact I think it makes using the center key more difficult, presuming you would use the thumb to press it. I also don't think that the extra button in the z row is needed because I don't know which finger you would reasonably use to reach it without straying too far from the home keys. But I am curious why you chose to leave a gap in the home row. Are you leaving space for a mouse stick? If not, and for purely aesthetic reasons I'd put two 1.25 keys there.
Beyond that it looks good to me.  :cool:

Offline berserkfan

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 20 January 2015, 09:28:56 »
Yes, I know guys, split is better. That's why I will build a split one too. This rectangular sym stagger one is to be my portable keyboard.

BTW, yes I'm NW European (Netherlands), but I'm skinny.

One suggestion is to take samwisekoi's GH36 as a basic design.

GH36 can be combined into one keyboard, so you'll have a single 72 key if you are traveling, and can split that into 2 36keys when at a desk.

Use that as a basic layout while trying out different layouts. I took Colemak and modified it over time on my Tipro 128 based on my own usage needs.
Most of the modding can be done on your own once you break through the psychological barriers.

Offline islisis

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 20 January 2015, 10:57:49 »
my feedback? i think this the most efficient staggered layout i have seen! i love the idea of both hands sharing the shift key. come to think about it, it mirrors the way i currently shift on my kinesis (dual-role home/pgup keys). now i know i have to get a portable layout like this! is this based on bpiphany's blue pill?

would love to see it work, with bluetooth even =)

i lean to the first design, as there will always be a use for extra keys in a compact design (dual-role, mouse keys etc)
« Last Edit: Tue, 20 January 2015, 11:10:36 by islisis »

Offline PieterGen

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 21 January 2015, 02:56:14 »
@juyanith - thanks. Yes, the small centre key on the space row may be a bad idea. And actually I like the 'hole' in the home row
@berserkfan - nice idea, to combine 2 matrixes (matrices ?)
@islisis - thanks

Offline berserkfan

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 21 January 2015, 08:39:32 »
@juyanith - thanks. Yes, the small centre key on the space row may be a bad idea. And actually I like the 'hole' in the home row
@berserkfan - nice idea, to combine 2 matrixes (matrices ?)
@islisis - thanks

Pieter

Samwisekoi designed his GH36 to be combinable and use the same teensy for 2 boards.

I think the remaining hurdle is in the execution - building of the casing and the connectors.
Most of the modding can be done on your own once you break through the psychological barriers.

Offline RominRonin

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 04 January 2017, 04:28:59 »
Old though this post is, I thought my recent prototype deserved a place in the thread:



Imgur:
http://imgur.com/a/aP2iR

R/MK:
https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/comments/5lufxa/katana_v2_an_adjustable_symmetrical_custom/

I'm still working on the design. I have a method for achieving a central tilt that I'd like to implement (it will also give an almost steampunk feel, it that's your thing).

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 04 January 2017, 15:24:06 »
Old though this post is, I thought my recent prototype deserved a place in the thread:

Show Image


Imgur:
http://imgur.com/a/aP2iR

R/MK:
https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/comments/5lufxa/katana_v2_an_adjustable_symmetrical_custom/

I'm still working on the design. I have a method for achieving a central tilt that I'd like to implement (it will also give an almost steampunk feel, it that's your thing).

cool board, can the top come apart for tenting ?

Offline RominRonin

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 05 January 2017, 00:25:59 »
You ask the pertinent questions  ;)

Not in this prototype, but it's something I'd like to solve.

I already have a couple of solutions in mind, I just need to source the components and build the next prototype.

The way it's going, I should probably make a dedicated thread for the board...

Offline Phenix

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #13 on: Sun, 08 January 2017, 15:46:01 »
I wouldn't go for the 1u Shift key in the mid..
Winter is coming.

Offline RominRonin

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Re: Help me fine-tune a symmetrical stagger layout
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 06 February 2017, 04:21:35 »
This is a good a place as any to share my ideas for a portable 60% symmetrical layout:



Compatibility with standard keysets was a goal of mine. I like the arrow keys in the middle too. avoiding having them on a shift layer was my incentive for that.

I disagree with the idea that staggered columns are the only way to make an ergonomic board. Ergonomics doesn't just require fitting the shape of the body, but also fitting the way we use our devices. Even as a touch typer I don't always rest my hands on the home row. Hunt and peck is still very relevant for applications that require a lot of mouse - shortcut - mouse combinations.