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    What makes a fair fight?

    • Started by iandoug
    • 2 Replies:
    • Reputation: 7
    • Registered: 18-Nov-2017
    • Posts: 67

    Hi

    Am busy retesting all layouts.

    Am keen to compare apples with apples, in the interests of fairness.

    So on one level, don't compare ergo layouts with ANSI.

    On the other, there are different design decisions that people have taken with ANSI layouts.

    I previously had these:

    Keys just rearranged    (eg Colemak, Workman, and only the "30 keys")   
    Keys + modifiers rearranged 
    Keys relabeled    (eg MTGap)
    Requires AltGr             
    Letter on thumb           
    Cases are split             

    But people do other things ...

    top row altered
    new shift pairs
    rearranged non-chars
    uses AltGr for standard chars
    move enter key

    and various combinations or subsets of these.

    So, what is a fair way to group categories of layouts, without ending up with 20 categories?
    Or do we need to tag a layout with assorted "characteristics"?

    Feedback welcome, thanks ;-)

    Thanks, Ian

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    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
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    Fortunately most layouts tend to mainly focus on changing the main keys, which makes it a bit easier. For those cases you can easily compare Layout1/ANSI vs Layout2/ANSI, and then separately Layout1/ANSI vs Layout1/Ergodox, which effectively separates out the letter arrangement from the hardware form factor. Changing extra things like numbers etc shouldn't have a huge difference since they are relatively uncommon, although conceivably you might have a heavily numeric-based corpus. Even then, changes to these keys can still be modelled, so I wouldn't expect a need to handle these cases differently.

    I think the much trickier issue is how to handle things like modifier changes, the various thumb-key combination, etc. And even more complicatedly: home row modifiers, dual-role keys etc. These more advanced features are harder to model, so analyzers tend to conveniently ignore them for the most part. Most of the effort goes on thinking about finger usage, but thumbs are somewhat overlooked. It's certainly an area that needs more thinking about, especially now that ergo boards with lots of thumb keys are becoming more common.

    I guess ideally we'd need some sort of generic model of the human hand which could be applied to all sorts of weird and wonderful layout ideas!

    Last edited by stevep99 (01-Apr-2021 14:32:03)

    Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

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    • Registered: 18-Nov-2017
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    Hi

    I've finished running most of the layouts through code and English tests. The ANSI layout that came out on top in Den's KLATest version is this one, made by me from one of Den's, a long time ago:

    https://www.keyboard-design.com/letterl … -3.en.ansi

    Which not only has right thumb living on AltGr, but dual shift even further to the right under the hand.

    So I'm considering "banning" layouts like that as "too painful to actually use". Which will kill quite a few layouts... there are many trying to use AltGr on ANSI with the thumb living on it. Ergo layouts are a different story.

    Den also had a few that required one finger pressing two keys at once ... which may work in practice on a Kinesis, but think it's cheating the scoring in KLA...

    Cheers, Ian

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