I was looking at the ANSI "ShiftZ" version of the Angle Mod, where Z is moved to the left-shift key. And then I was also thinking about the Space->Shift idea, and combining it with the Wide Mod.
As we know, the Wide Mod moves the right-hand keys one unit to the right - but with the exception of the bottom row. So, what if we instead applied the Wide Mod to those keys too? We would end up moving Space, AltGr and Win one key over, allowing the spacebar to become one huge Shift key. This has the nice side effect of freeing up the two conventional shift keys, which is pretty handy on an ANSI keyboard when you're using the Wide Mod..
Take a look at this:
In other words, ANSI DH wide version but with Z on left-shift, / on right-shift and right-hand bottom row keys (including space) moved to the right.
- There are two thumb keys: Shift and Space. IMO the ergonomic benefit of a thumb key Shift is massive. It's easy to reach any other key while holding the spacebar. The spacebar being so big should also be user friendly for those who like to Shift with either hand, but using the left-thumb would be recommended.
- Maybe it feels weird to have a small Space key, but standard AltGr position is good enough quality if the Wide Mod is applied, and plenty of ergo keyboards have small space buttons these days.
- Keeps the other nice things about Wide mod, including convenient Return and backspace keys.
- It allows the standard positions for both Z and / to be used - no need to move them to the middle of the board.
- There are two spare keys in the middle trench that could be used for whatever the user wants.
- You can't move keycaps for Z and / so they would need to be labelled wrongly unless you used blank caps.
- We have lost the "Menu" key, but it's no biggie. Could re-assign it to one of the middle keys if you really wanted it.
- Some people are averse to messing around with modifier keys.
Still, I think the result is pretty ergonomic, given the limitations of the hardware. I'm going to try it out on my laptop. If any ANSI users out there fancy giving this a try, do report back findings!