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Colemak extra-wide layout. Alternate home position.

  • Started by cevgar
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Edit: ADDED INDEX

Index Of Layouts/Mods Updated at 28th post
(Originating Posts only. Images, suggestions and improvements have been posted since then. If you are interested, please read the thread.)
In order of appearance: (names are liable to change)
Wide Layout - One column right hand shift.
   Originating Post: #1 (That is right here)
Double Wide Layouts - Two column widening and one row raising possibilities. Appears first as Ultra-Wide.
   Originating Post: #8
AlphaPad Layouts - Right hand alphabetic replacement for NumberPad, cheap split keyboard simulation. Formerly called AlphaExtend.
   Originating Post: #11
10 Finger Layout - Widened and raised, center keys shifted to the thumbs.
   Originating Post: #11 (If interested in thumb use, see the "Toss the Spacebar" thread)   
A-Frame Layout - Left hand addition to the Wide Layout to alter hand angle.
   Originating Post: #11
Angle ANSI - Combined left and right hand shifts, designed to fix lower-left zxcvb position.
   Originating Post: #12
Current Wide Mod reg file archive - Simplest application solution for Windows users, until the PKL version is released. Wide and Angle Layouts.
   Post: #16
   


Colemak extra-wide layout. Alternate home position.

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but until I figure out how to make the png's for the pkl layout this is not really much of a 'user contribution'. Anyway, the basic idea is to shift the right hand home position to the right by a key, and shift the far right keys to the center. Displaying what I have in mind is probably quicker than explaining it, so take a look. Home positions are ARST NEIO in both, but they have been put in CAPS also for emphasis, or something.

Not actually code, but I wanted monospace...

Colemak (US)
`12345 67890-=
 qwfpg jluy;[]\
 ARSTd hNEIO'(ENTER)
 zxcvb km,./(R.SHIFT)
 
Colemak Extra-Wide
`12345- =67890
 qwfpg \ jluy;[]
 ARSTd ' hNEIO(ENTER)
 zxcvb / km,.(R.SHIFT)

I hope that makes it clear.

Advantages:
  Wider and (hopefully) more natural hand placement on a standard keyboard. Might also help stabilize wobbly laptop typing.
  Less work for the right pinkie by removing the ' and with easier access to Enter and Right Shift.
  Also generally improves access to AltGr, '6' and (in my opinion) the - = keys.
  The fact that this layout changes the hand postions should help the brain separate between the normal and widened layouts. Qwerty and Colemak-W or Qwerty-W and Colemak. Take your pick.
  If you want to get real nit picky, it also puts your right thumb half an inch further from accidentally hitting a touchpad while typing and the whole right hand half an inch closer to the numberpad, arrowkey, and a right handed mouse.

Disadvantages:
...um, is this even necissary? I'm sure people are going to be more than happy enough to tell me all about what is wrong with this idea. I'll just let them do the work for me. Dance minions! But honestly, some key placement probably needs rethinking. I'm wondering about switching the ; and '. If your spacebar is really short, this rearrangement might cause some AltGr/Space mix ups. If you use a lot of code or type out a lot of websites, the / placement is probably awful. Also, I've heard that switching any keys outside of the usual center 30 can be difficult, so adapting to the new ' placement might be harder than anticipated. And finally, is switching really worth the effort?

So anyway, thats it. Let me know what you think.

Last edited by cevgar (27-Feb-2010 03:30:25)
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Great idea, I like it!!  It also makes AltGr easy to hit with the thumb, which is good.

(although I would leave -/= in their original positions if you want to make them more accessible.)

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I've created an image of your layout with carpalx:

Colemak:
colemak.png

Colemak extra-wide:
colemak-wide.png

Last edited by ghen (11-Nov-2017 20:25:57)
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woah. Thats interesting!

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Probably a good idea for some, especially people with wide shoulders and narrow keyboards! And with the explosion on the netbook market, the shoulder-to-keyboard-width ratio has been dropping. Another potential benefit would be people whose pinkies are hurting; I think that's a not too uncommon problem. Keep the hand balance, but move load from right-hand pinky to the strong index finger - it seems smart.

The only problem there for everyday typing would be moving the apostrophe that sees quite frequent use in English. It'd be a surprise to the ingrained typer, and I don't think you want single-finger trouble in common words like "isn't", "don't" etc.! However, for those of us blessed with ISO boards this becomes better and better: I'd keep the apostrophe and move the \| key to the middle! This way the problematic placement of the Enter key on the ISO board (too long a stretch for the right-hand pinky) is alleviated, making the ISO keyboard sweeter than ever. Far-away Backspace key, same benefit (except most Colemak users will have an alternative placement for that key already). The new challenge becomes a logical placement of the bracket keys. Since the semicolon is placed 'in the block' I'm a bit loath to move it away.

Not convinced about the number row! I use a straight left wrist, and type the number 6 with my left hand most of the time (which is also in harmony with most split keyboards, for some reason!). Thus, I'd only insert one key (probably =+ then) and it'd be to the right of the 6 key. Others might want to insert only one number-row key too, but to the left of 6. I feel that the double-key insertion on the number row breaks the symmetry of this idea so there'd better be a very good reason for it!?

I'll give you this though: It looks a lot prettier with the number 6 on the right hand! I'll consider it a bit, maybe trying out the =+ key in the middle for the left hand instead.

If you move exactly one column of keys from the right-hand edge to the middle of the keyboard, I'd think that it'd be much easier for people to transition back and forth between the conventional Colemak and this modification. That weighs somewhat heavily for me.

The fact that this layout changes the hand postions should help the brain separate between the normal and widened layouts.

That argument doesn't sound right to me. I use different hand positions for different situations and haven't noticed any such effect.

Maybe I'll whip up an image of this too. It's an interesting concept.

Did you have PKL files for it? I might also be helpful there.

Last edited by DreymaR (05-Feb-2010 15:47:13)

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Lol, I find it highly amusing that I haven't been here in ages, and the first thing I see is a mod I've had for probably two years now…

boJwc.jpg
(Done the same thing with my Macbook keyboard)

I've always hated the fact that typing seemed so cramped, with the thumbs on top of each other. In fact they're grossly underused—in my ideal world the space bar would be chopped up into normal-sized keys, with perhaps a space-key for each thumb, and then lots and lots of modifier keys for the rest. For example, moving the shift keys, backspace, delete, etc. to the thumbs (which do nothing else but stab the lone space bar a zillion times, and occasionally hit the next closest modifier—command for macs).

So about 1.5 to 2 years ago I at least tried to solve my crampedness woes by sliding everything on the right hand over a key, placing some of the lesser-used keys in-between the hands, in the slots where they're harder to reach anyway. (As a side note, I have parens in place of square-brackets, because they're more frequent for me, and useful for programming. I use Ukelele on OS X to totally jumble up my Alt-mappings, for my own convenience. And a bunch of cyrillic junk for the letters themselves.)

3iWK4.png

Quite fun. If only there were a matrix-style squared layout with the same key-action and design of the newer Apple ones.

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As a side effect of this shifting, the traditional backspace (or “delete” on macs) is conveniently closer! (I actually do this, too, because I haven't found an easy, non-frustrating way to get backspace onto capslock for OS X 10.5/6—much as I adored it when I had it with an older computer.)

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@ghen

Thanks for the image! Maybe you wouldn't mind doing a few more? Check below.


@DreymaR

Ah... well, I didn't think the different hand positions would do much. You'll notice I used the words 'should' instead of 'does' and 'help' was used in the same vein as the phrase 'every little bit helps'. There is no legal definition for the minimum amount of improvement needed for something to qualify as 'help'. Yes, it is cheap, I know.

As for the number line, that was an issue of symmetry for me. I didn't really want to do anything with the numbers at all, but that simply wouldn't work and someone was bound to call me out on it. Also, while many type the 6 with the left hand (myself included) I feel uncomfortable with the idea of splitting the numbers unevenly. I'm also not fond of splitting up key pairs, like -=.

Still, what you say makes sense. Placing a single key between the 6 and 7 would be more... familiar to most typists, and isn't that what we are aiming for? The whole point of modified keyboard layouts is to improve personal comfort. If something else works better, we go for it. And yes, the apostrophe needs to go to a better location.

If you could get the pkl layouts, that would be awesome! I... um... don't know perl. So I kinda got klc2ini.pl and ini2html.pl to work, and I managed a screen shot of the html as a png (bypassing getimage.bat), all for the qwerty variant. I can't make heads or tails out of split_png.pl though. And I'm having trouble aligning colemak's five thousand layers. It is functional enough for my purposes, but I can't post it as is. (I also don't have anywhere to host the file, so...)


@kalixiri

LOL. That is good. Still you should have suggested it sooner. Your layout address the problems I've had with finding a good spot for the apostrophe. It also maintains the left hand 6. I use the number keys so rarely that I could take it or leave it. And frankly, the even split on the number bar looks mighty pretty.

Anyway, it sounds to me like you skipped over the Arensito layout. That one shifts the home row up by a key and then does all kinds of fun stuff with the bottom row. Looks like this:

arensito2.jpg


@ everyone else

Of course, taking another look at Arensito gave me an idea. I love the concept of getting my thumbs into the action, but sorting out what should go where, proper use of layers and whatnot would take a LOT of work. I'll leave that to someone else. No instead I present you all with a stop gap: Colemak - ULTRA WIDE versions. Yeah, the names are a joke, take a look anyways. (Home keys are always ARST NEIO, written in CAPS)

Colemak (US) (baseline)
      `12345 67890-=(BkSpc)
  (Tab)qwfpg jluy;[]\
(BkSpc)ARSTd hNEIO'(ENTER)
 (Shift)zxcvbkm,./(RSHIFT)

Colemak Ultra-Wide Vanilla
  (Tab)qwfpg- =jluy;(BkSpc)
(Bkspc)ARSTd[ ]hNEIO'
(Shift)zxcvb\ /km,.(ENTER)
       `1234567890(RSHIFT)

Colemak Ultra-Wide Wings
  (Tab)-qwfpg =jluy;(BkSpc)
(BkSpc)ARSTd[ ]hNEIO'
(Shift)zxcvb\ /km,.(ENTER)
       `1234567890(RSHIFT)

Colemak Ultra-Wide RegisFree (warning, asymmetrical)
      `12345- =jluy;(BkSpc)
  (Tab)qwfpg[ ]hNEIO'
(BkSpc)ARSTd\ /km,.(ENTER)
 (Shift)zxcvb67890(RSHIFT)

This also opens up new possibilities for the Extra-Wides

Colemak Extra-Wide AirBus
  (Tab)qwfpg - jluy;=(BkSpc)
(Bkspc)ARSTd [ hNEIO'\
(Shift)zxcvb ] km,./(ENTER)
       `1234567890(RSHIFT)

Mix and match, create your own! Like the Extra-Wide Airbus Wings RegisFree. Yes, it can be done.

The advantages here (Vanilla edition) are:
   Even WIDER layout.
   Preserves ' location.
   Puts AltGr in easy thumb reach.
   Bottom row is thumb accessible.
   R.Pinkie is in easy reach of the default backspace.
   Laptop specific:
      R.Pinkie can now reach PgUp and PgDn.
      L.Thumb can now hit Alt.
     
The disadvantages:
   R.Shift is unaccessible.
   Awkward on desktop keyboards without wrist rests. The asymmetrical one is actually more comfortable.
   Lots of registry edits on the left control keys.
   Requires adapting to new shortcut locations, or shifting the L.Ctrl up to the L.Shift spot.
   Not a disadvantage, but the using the bottom row for the number bar is a criminal waste of potential.

Again, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


EDIT: adding these ridiculous text art versions of the above layouts for visualization purposes.

Colemak
___________________________________________________________
| ` | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 0 | - | = | BSp |
| Tab | q | w | f | p | g | j | l | u | y | ; | [ | ] | \ |
| BkSp | A | R | S | T | d | h | N | E | I | O | ' | Entr |
| Shift  | z | x | c | v | b | k | m | , | . | / | Shift  |
| Ctr | Wn | Alt | Space              | Alt | W | M | Ctl |
-----------------------------------------------------------

Colemak Ultra-Wide Vanilla
___________________________________________________________
| T | q | w | f | p | g | - | = | j | l | u | y | ; | BSp |
| BSp | A | R | S | T | d | [ | ] | h | N | E | I | O | ' |
| Shft | z | x | c | v | b | \ | / | k | m | , | . | Entr |
| Ctrl   | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 0 | Shift  |
| `   | Wn | Alt | Space              | Alt | W | M | Ctl |
-----------------------------------------------------------

Colemak Ultra-Wide Wings
___________________________________________________________
| T | - | q | w | f | p | g | = | j | l | u | y | ; | BSp |
| BSp | A | R | S | T | d | [ | ] | h | N | E | I | O | ' |
| Shft | z | x | c | v | b | \ | / | k | m | , | . | Entr |
| Ctrl   | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 0 | Shift  |
| `   | Wn | Alt | Space              | Alt | W | M | Ctl |
-----------------------------------------------------------

Colemak Ultra-Wide RegisFree (warning, asymmetrical)
___________________________________________________________
| ` | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | - | = | j | l | u | y | ; | BSp |
| Tab | q | w | f | p | g | [ | ] | h | N | E | I | O | ' |
| BkSp | A | R | S | T | d | \ | / | k | m | , | . | Entr |
| Shift  | z | x | c | v | b | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 0 | Shift  |
| Ctr | Wn | Alt | Space              | Alt | W | M | Ctl |
-----------------------------------------------------------


Colemak Extra-Wide AirBus
___________________________________________________________
| T | q | w | f | p | g | - | j | l | u | y | ; | = | BSp |
| BSp | A | R | S | T | d | [ | h | N | E | I | O | ' | \ |
| Shft | z | x | c | v | b | ] | k | m | , | . | / | Entr |
| Ctrl   | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 0 | Shift  |
| `   | Wn | Alt | Space              | Alt | W | M | Ctl |
-----------------------------------------------------------
Last edited by cevgar (07-Feb-2010 04:47:33)
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Kalixiri: Ah yes, now that you mention it I think you've described this idea before? Nice work there - although personally I've my mind set to have the number 6 to the right of the = key now. I too like the apostrophe and bracket placements.

Cevgar: Arensito is in my opinion a layout that tries too hard. Maybe it isn't so bad on a Kinesis, but on a run-of-the-mill keyboard the first thing that strikes me is how ugly, jumbled and illogical it looks. More to the point though, it's a great leap from the standard QWERTY (and not being that while still being great is one of the distinct advantages of Colemak in the first place) and unless you can play piano with only your thumbs it'll lead to some uncomfortable stretches downwards as far as I can see.

Your double-wide layouts suffer from some of the same problems I think: They are easy on the eye unlike the Arensito, but numbers to the bottom is a substantial conceptual leap from what we're used to. And losing the possibility of shuffling the ZXCVB keys to the left for ergonomy breaks the deal for me. I suppose that losing the trained stretch to the right-hand Shift and having to go a row down instead will break the deal for many more, judging by the outcry the ANSI people make when you move the left-hand Shift key to a (perfectly acceptable, as far as I'm concerned) ISO position one key to the left of the wide one they're used to.

As you say, the implementation will be tricky too. The Caps-to-Backspace of Colemak has caused much frustration and you're talking about a complete reworking which is bound to crash against the many unprepared systems/apps.

The basic idea is tempting, but I feel it's just too much.

On the upside, I tried moving my right hand between the two positions on my normal IBM M board and I now feel that the wide position is better even on a large board! Plus, it fixes the problem of the ridiculously long Space bar on some keyboards that make the AltGr key an evil stretch - as well as the Backspace/Enter stretches as mentioned before. This is a brilliant idea!!!

The image is on its way but still in the making/rethinking phase. Be like a hospital; have patiens...   ;)

Last edited by DreymaR (08-Feb-2010 10:17:45)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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Here's what I ended up with, inspired by Kalixiri but optimizing for an ISO board, ZXCVB shift and number-row symmetry. I'll try it out, and make a couple of .reg files for those who wish to try it out in Windows. With that, you should be able to try the Wide mod independently of layout (so you wouldn't need to change your PKL files... apart from the images). Later on, both a registry-dependent and a PKL-only implementation will be available.

   Cmk-ISO-Wide2b_45d-Finger.png

First impressions: It's no problem at all as far as using the shifted keys! And it does feel nicer anglewise. The easier reach to the AltGr key is appreciated, as would be the reaches to Backspace and Enter had I still been using those keys instead of their Extend counterparts. My speed is the same (tested at higames.com) too. The only slight hassle is using the '/?' and '6' keys in their new locations I feel - the others seem somehow not like a problem even if writing bracketed BBS tags with the index fingers instead of the right pinky is a new experience. If I had been using my right hand to hit '6' beforehand it would've been even less of a transition. I don't think getting used to the new way will take long at all.

Sometimes when I navigate blind I'll hit the old home position before I correct myself (using the index finger bump). I remember doing that when learning the ZXCVB shift too; it passed away in a few days and in a couple of weeks' time I wouldn't be confused anymore when migrating between computers with and without the shift either.


Here's the registry remap for an ISO "102/105-key" board (as you can see, you can choose to include the ZXCVB shift or not):

REGEDIT4 

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout] 
; The below mappings can be selected by removing and adding ';' as necessary. They are "layout independent" (QWERTY/Colemak/what-have-you).
; The next line maps ZXCVB_ <- _ZXCVB (where '_' is the VK_102 key)
;"Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,07,00,00,00,2c,00,56,00,2d,00,2c,00,2e,00,2d,00,2f,00,2e,00,30,00,2f,00,56,00,30,00,00,00,00,00
; The next lines map the Wide ergonomic right-hand mod (with Colemak on an ISO board, the new half-rows are =67890- [JLUY;\ ]HNEIO' /KM,. )
; plus the ZXCVB shift (delete the "2c,00,56,00 ... 56,00,30,00\" line and change the first "21" to a "1b" if you want only the Wide mod)
"Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,21,00,00,00,\
  0c,00,0d,00,0b,00,0c,00,0a,00,0b,00,09,00,0a,00,08,00,09,00,07,00,08,00,0d,00,07,00,\
  2b,00,1b,00,19,00,1a,00,18,00,19,00,17,00,18,00,16,00,17,00,15,00,16,00,1a,00,15,00,\
  28,00,2b,00,27,00,28,00,26,00,27,00,25,00,26,00,24,00,25,00,23,00,24,00,1b,00,23,00,\
  2c,00,56,00,2d,00,2c,00,2e,00,2d,00,2f,00,2e,00,30,00,2f,00,56,00,30,00,\
  34,00,35,00,33,00,34,00,32,00,33,00,31,00,32,00,35,00,31,00,00,00,00,00
; The next line removes all scancode remappings
;"Scancode Map"=-

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Keyboard Layout]
"Scancode Map"=-

; Numbers are LittleEndian (0x12345678 -> 78,56,34,12)
; ---------------------------------------------------------------------
; Bytes          Meaning
; ---------------------------------------------------------------------
; 00 00 00 00    Version info (usually zero)
; 00 00 00 00    Flags (usually zero)
; 07 00 00 00    # of entries (# of mappings +1 for the terminator)
; 2c 00 56 00    The VK_102(0056) key now sends a 'z'(002c) code
; 2d 00 2c 00    The 'z'(002c) key now sends a 'x'(002d) code
; 2e 00 2d 00    The 'x'(002d) key now sends a 'c'(002e) code
; 2f 00 2e 00    The 'c'(002e) key now sends a 'v'(002f) code
; 30 00 2f 00    The 'v'(002f) key now sends a 'b'(0030) code
; 56 00 30 00    The 'b'(0030) key now sends a VK_102(0056) code
; 00 00 00 00    Null terminator (always zero)

For an ANSI "101/104-key" board, the apostrophe placement will be different and the ZXCVB shift is pointless(?):

REGEDIT4 

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout] 
; The below mappings can be selected by removing and adding ';' as necessary. They are "layout independent" (QWERTY/Colemak/what-have-you).
; The next lines map the Wide ergonomic right-hand mod (with Colemak on an ANSI board, the new half-rows are =67890- [JLUY;'\ ]HNEIO /KM,. )
"Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,1a,00,00,00,\
  0c,00,0d,00,0b,00,0c,00,0a,00,0b,00,09,00,0a,00,08,00,09,00,07,00,08,00,0d,00,07,00,\
  28,00,1b,00,19,00,1a,00,18,00,19,00,17,00,18,00,16,00,17,00,15,00,16,00,1a,00,15,00,\
  27,00,28,00,26,00,27,00,25,00,26,00,24,00,25,00,23,00,24,00,1b,00,23,00,\
  34,00,35,00,33,00,34,00,32,00,33,00,31,00,32,00,35,00,31,00,00,00,00,00
; The next line removes all scancode remappings
;"Scancode Map"=-

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Keyboard Layout]
"Scancode Map"=-

; Numbers are LittleEndian (0x12345678 -> 78,56,34,12)
; ---------------------------------------------------------------------
; Bytes          Meaning
; ---------------------------------------------------------------------
; 00 00 00 00    Version info (usually zero)
; 00 00 00 00    Flags (usually zero)
; 02 00 00 00    # of entries (# of mappings +1 for the terminator)
; 2e 00 2d 00    The 'x'(002d) key now sends a 'c'(002e) code
; 00 00 00 00    Null terminator (always zero)

As you may know, you save the code in a .reg file and double-click it to add the code to your registry; to remove it you uncomment the 'remove' line and run that instead (unless you like navigating registry hives). Any existing registry mappings (such as a CapsLock mapping if you use that - beware!) will be wiped. On WinXP at least, you require a system restart to get the new mappings.

You can run your normal PKL or MSKLC layout on top of that - or not if you wish to experience Wide QWERTY! - it should be seamless. As mentioned, I'll be making a PKL version for the computers where registry mapping isn't an option and/or the key caps aren't interchangeable (I always use registry mapping if I have moved the caps - one radical implementation deserves another!).

There - enjoy!

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Dec-2014 11:25:12)

*** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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Points of interest in this post:
   Trigraph keys.
   AlphaPad layout.

Lesser points of interest:
   10 Finger layout.
   A-Frame layout.

@DreymaR
You are awesome! The color coded map clears up what is happening beautifully, and the reg files are a whole lot easier than using SharpKey to remap half the board. I admit I do feel silly now. Here I was wasting time coming up with new ideas while you were doing serious work.

Besides that, the single wide does work nicely, doesn't it? Feels very natural after only a short time. While it seems like I am hardly the first person to come up with the idea, I just wonder why I've never heard of it before. Once you've seen it, it becomes so obvious.

As for the doubles, I recommend ignoring most of the double wides I posted and checking out the asymmetrical 'RegisFree' layout. I agree that the regular double wide IS a bit too much for most. Since I never use the R.Shift, I find the asymmetrical layout puts me in a much better position for the enter and backspace and leaves the ' alone. I imagine for left shifters who can't switch out the capslock this could be useful. It needs some reworking on an ISO, probably putting the ' in the ; position and moving the ; to the center, but the bottom row is preserved. That is doubtlessly a plus for people who like to ask a lot of questions.

Something I've just discovered, depending on your board, the upwards shift of the doubles can be a blessing. Shifts the palms up onto very narrow boards and stabilizes them.

Unfortunately I never learned to alternate thumbs for the space so, being a right spacer, I get no benefit from the asymmetrical layout's additional thumb access.  I'd have loved to put in a " the " key (spaces included) on the bottom, but Windows limits to four characters per keypress. So a " the " key becomes a " the", "the " or "the" key, which makes for some awkward same-thumb combos. Still a " the" key would make words like "there" "theif" "theater" "thesis" and "thermos" a touch faster. It has only marginal use though. A "the" key would be great, with usage in >1800 English words, but that triple same thumb combo intimidates me. A "th" key could be useful, (>5000 English words) but anything less than a trigraph isn't worth the effort. All of these arguments work for an "and" key as well(>1800 english words) and various other trigraphs. In case you are wondering, you can check for number of words starting with, containing and ending with at morewords.com

So to summarize, toss the regular layout, play with the double wide, go home with the single wide.

The arensito is a bit convoluted, but it does make sense if you stare at it a bit. It really should have finger coloring, but if you look you will notice some sensible changes. I am figuring it is named after the home positions, so it looks like the pointers have only 5 keys assigned to them instead of the traditional 6. The separate quote and apostrophe keys are nice, and most of those brackets and slashes we've been moving about have been shifted off the board and onto a separate layer. The layout also enforces that 'comfort' shifting of the lower row that the ISO folks are so fond of, and upper row is also adjusted, so the left hand has a nice inward slope to match the right. Seems like it would have been more comfortable if the pointers had been shifted down a row onto the qwerty F and K keys. Learning it is probably a monster, but I don't think the thumbs are as bad as they look. Aside from the space, none of those is a really frequent customer, and there is enough time to find the shift when you need it. It is less like playing the piano and more like working organ pedals.

NEW LAYOUT IDEAS
Now, taking things to their logical (if impractical) conclusion, I present you with the ultimate width solution.

Wide Board, AlphaPad: Deskhog

Why, oh why does the number pad use a separate set of scan codes? Not only that, but they are under used! No shift states at all. It makes such a simple layout switch into something far too complicated. If you have a full board, or a compact with a separate number pad (awesome!) AND you don't mind wrangling with the registry, or PKL take a look. It's not a freestyle, but it won't cost you 100 USD either. Note for you laptop folks, you will probably need a surface for this, so don't plan on typing on your lap.

Numbpad, 17 key default
N / * - 
7 8 9 +
4 5 6 + (homerow)
1 2 3 E
000 . E

Numbpad, 17 Key AlphaPad
l u y '
N E I O (homerow)
m , . O
h k j E (thumb hk, ring for j, pinkie Enter)
Spc B E (thumb space, ring Backspace)

Numbpad, USB 19 Key Default
N / * - 
7 8 9 B (Backspace)
4 5 6 + (homerow)
1 2 3 E
0 @ . E (@ is the 000 key)

Numbpad, USB 19 Key AlphaPad (rotate clockwise)
j l u y '
h N E I O (homerow)
k m , . S (Shift)
Spc A B E (AltGr)

Really, the only way this could be expanded any further is to use two entirely separate keyboards. That would probably be a simpler solution than this. I can say from personal experience that two compacts work like a charm, but they do get in the way of the mouse. Unless you turned them sideways. Hey, align them so they slope up to the center and that is pretty comfy. Fingers line up better too! Try this home row, qwerty labels ".LP- 3EDX" or "EDXAlt".

ANYWAYS, the advantages for the AlphaPad are:
   W-I-D-E
   Doesn't mess with the rest of the board layout. Need something special? Just move back.
   Right hand is only a hand's width away from the mouse.
   On a full board, R.Thumb comfortably near the arrow keys.
   On a full board, R.Pointer is in reaching distance of PgUp and PgDn.
   With a USB NumPad, ADJUSTABLE SPLIT KEYBOARD!!!! (even more adjustable if you switch the left hand to the right side of the keyboard. Align so that L.Pinkie on the Right nub.)
   
Disadvantages for the AlphaPad:
   Impractical.
   Feels very unfamiliar. Requires adaption.
   17 key, No AltGr.
   17 key, No R.Shift.
   17 key, Heavy thumb dependence.
   Small R.Space.
   Very limited in number of keys available, unless several layers are added, no good for code.
   Requires registry level key remap.
   Requires keyboard layout edit if you want the numberpad back as a shift state.
   Puts the qwerty N in an awful spot.
   
Now, if I could find two USB 19 Key NumberPads with different scan codes, I could almost get rid of my keyboard. Maybe I should look into those "half keyboard" pc game pads?

While I'm here though, I found myself wondering something. There are 33 center keys on the board, spread across 8 fingers. 3 for each, except for the pointers that have 6 (or 7 depending on how you type). Well, what if we tried something like this...

Colemak Double Wide 10 Fingers
___________________________________________________________
| T | q | w | f | p | 1 | 4 | 6 | 8 | l | u | y | ; | BSp |
| BSp | A | R | S | T | 2 | 5 | 7 | 9 | N | E | I | O | ' |
| Shft | z | x | c | v | 3 | [ | ] | 0 | m | , | . | Entr |
| Ctrl   | \ | / | b | D | g | = | j | H | k | - | Shift  |
| `   | Wn | Alt | Space              | Alt | W | M | Ctl |
-----------------------------------------------------------

Thumbs home at D and H. Discounting the awful number placements, how does that look? Pretty bad actually. Maybe shuffling the keys might improve the-... no, probably not. Eh, well nevermind then, it was worth a shot.

Well, that about wraps it up for width. I don't think there are any other possibilities that don't involve physical modification. Next I might try modifying angle. Maybe something like this:

Colemak A-Frame (US)
___________________________________________________________
| ` | - | = | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 0 | BSp |
| Tab | [ | ] | q | w | f | p | j | l | u | y | ; | ' | \ |
| BkSp | / | A | R | S | T | d | h | N | E | I | O | Entr |
| Shift  | z | x | c | v | g | b | k | m | , | . | Shift  |
| Ctr | Wn | Alt | Space              | Alt | W | M | Ctl |
-----------------------------------------------------------

Home row, upper left and lower right keys shifted right once. G placed on bottom row. B stays in its relatively bad position. Those who have ISO boards, you might want to shift this whole layout back to the left by a key, and tempting as it is, I would not put an extra letter between the hands, as the separation with this much inward slope might be hard on the wrists. It is your call. Also, this switch isn't as universal as the others. It makes a right mess of the qwerty T position.

Ok, that is it. No new layouts from me. I promise. I'd rather see the single wide finished than continue playing with ideas.

Last edited by cevgar (25-Feb-2010 18:03:41)
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You certainly are a fount of ideas!  :o

About the double-wide(s): If you're a good typer you'll need both Shift keys. I use the left Shift for the letters on the right-hand side and vice versa, as it should be. I think that doing away with that arrangement is too great a sacrifice for serious typists.

About your NumPad idea: I think you've covered enough disadvantages there already, hehe. The better idea is in my opinion to get a 'tenkeyless' board and use some Extend/Fn key to access a home-position numeric block for heavy-duty number input.

If I were to get a split device with fewer keys, it'd be a DataHand! Then the cost would be high of course. But I don't see the split-USB-pad as a potential keeper for me.

[edit: A point about your trigraph-key wish. I don't think it'd be so great, and easily confusing. What I'd really like would be a same-finger key! Let's say one of the thumb keys simply repeats your last keypress so you don't have to repress it with the same finger. Same-finger is one of the worst exercises of typing.]

You shouldn't be concerned about the combination of hand separation and inward slope (read: straight wrists) as that's what I'm enjoying right now and I'm quite happy with it. On my ISO board, I feel that the Wide layout helps me keep my wrists even straighter than it did without the separation enhancement. But as mentioned, I don't go for the extra inward slope on the top rows which might cause the kind of trouble you're worried about.

Your 'A-Frame' has interesting properties. What I'd do is to keep the 'b' position so you don't mess up the basic colemak layout (which would be a VERY BAD THING to do), and relax the upper row (and number row) back one key. My personal experience says that the top row isn't much of an issue (and shifting it may even be problematic!) but the bottom row stagger is a problem that should be fixed. You'd get a colemak layout with the important bottom-left angle shift that I crave, compatible with ANSI boards!

   Cmk-ANSI-AFrame_60d-Tinted.png

(In case anyone wonders: I've kept the original index finger bump placements in the image for the sake of simplicity, but the ideal positions for the bumps would still be on the T and N keys - I've moved the bumped N key for my test of the Wide layout for instance.)

The price to pay is of course that some punctuation keys will move around, and the left Shift key will be as far away from the home position as the ISO board LShift is (which is okay to me). That should be acceptable sacrifices for the added ergonomy. With the added room between CapsLock and the 'a' key though, one might want to rethink the frequent use of that key as in today's Backspace and Extend mods for CapsLock.

This is also a mod consistent with the Wide mod (at least, with my take on it): You only move the inserted keys on the three top rows all the way to the left instead of to the middle (and fix the apostrophe placement so it works with the ANSI layout). That's nice too, I think.

The really adventurous might want to leave the bracket keys and instead move the semicolon and apostrophe to the far left (or maybe the apostrophe on the old A position, backslash on the old Q position and brackets to the far right sits better - although moving the wider backslash key on an ANSI board around isn't doable so the key cap markings would be wrong if you want a physical mod). As positions go that's neat and looks a bit prettier too, but I feel that you'd move central punctuation keys to the other hand which is a tad too high a price tag for me. I'm all for hearing about personal experiences, though!

In case anyone is really interested, I made them a .reg file for this one too. It hasn't been tested (as I don't have any ANSI boards), so make sure everything is in the right place after running it and please report back here afterwards.

REGEDIT4 

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout] 
; The below mappings can be selected by removing and adding ';' as necessary. They are "layout independent" (QWERTY/Colemak/what-have-you).
; The next lines map the A-Frame ergonomic right-hand mod (the = [ ] move to the left shifting 1qa etc to the right; / moves 4 keys left.).
"Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,29,00,00,00,\
  0c,00,0d,00,0b,00,0c,00,0a,00,0b,00,09,00,0a,00,08,00,09,00,07,00,08,00,\
  0d,00,02,00,02,00,03,00,03,00,04,00,04,00,05,00,05,00,06,00,06,00,07,00,\
  28,00,1b,00,19,00,1a,00,18,00,19,00,17,00,18,00,16,00,17,00,15,00,16,00,\
  1a,00,10,00,10,00,11,00,11,00,12,00,12,00,13,00,13,00,14,00,14,00,15,00,\
  27,00,28,00,26,00,27,00,25,00,26,00,24,00,25,00,23,00,24,00,\
  1b,00,1e,00,1e,00,1f,00,1f,00,20,00,20,00,21,00,21,00,22,00,22,00,23,00,\
  34,00,35,00,33,00,34,00,32,00,33,00,31,00,32,00,35,00,31,00,00,00,00,00
; The next line removes all scancode remappings
;"Scancode Map"=-

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Keyboard Layout]
"Scancode Map"=-

Enjoy! I'd like to hear from someone who tries this out.

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Dec-2014 11:25:43)

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I have been using a similar mod for Dvorak, and I find it way more comfortable than the standard one.

Only issue so far: none of my membrane keyboards allowed moving the right home key (J). I don't type on membrane keyboards anymore, therefore to me is not an issue at all.

Dvorak typist here.  Please take my comments with a grain of salt.

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In a similar vein, I've been thinking about the navigation bump issue. There's already a problem for us colemakers in that the right-hand bump goes missing if you move the keys around. In my experience, I navigate the left hand well enough with the 'F' key bump on the upper-row middle finger and the general hand placement. The right-hand navigation has been worse off.

Now I think this problem may be alleviated by the Wide mod! The thing is, now the right-hand thumb rests in contact with both the Space bar and the AltGr key at once - which gives me something to navigate by! I'm hoping this'll be enough for me.

Moving the F and J keys on different keyboards can be a hassle. Sometimes you can do it by making an extra hole or two in the board base, and the board with upside-down F/J/T/N keys was an absolute hoot! At other times it's not so easy and you may be better off leaving the damn things in place - maybe get some stickers instead or do a blank-key mod.

Last edited by DreymaR (10-Feb-2010 10:08:33)

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I was working on the gif below, when I took a look at Dvorak. I'm reconsidering going back to the double key numberpad adjustment idea. It is not that big of a deal, but shifting everything like we have uneccisarily messes up the dvorak brackets. I feel the -= keys should remain next to each other for cross layout conformity.

Anyway show your support! Animated signature. For those of us who don't mind being gaudy eyesores. (note that the keys have remained mostly unlabeled, so feel free to share it with all your qwerty loving friends!)

2f01496126.gif

Edit: Added this (hopefully) more tasteful option. The timing is still a little rough (paint.net is really not made for this sort of thing), but it is still huge step up from the previous version. It isn't quite as straight forward (I do miss the cheerful thumb indicators), but I suppose not appearing like a rabid fanatic is the price one pays for having people take you seriously. Note that like the first, the keys are unlabeled, to go along with the whole layout independent aspect of the mod. So, attach it to your signature, link it back here to the reg files and let people know that they have a choice!

8da4f57166.gif

Last edited by cevgar (11-Feb-2010 03:29:58)
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Fun images! In my experience, the GIMP can be a nice alternative to paint.net if it's struggling with something - haven't tried animating .GIFs with it but I've heard that people do it a lot. Oh - and if you want to, feel free to use my 'IBM'-style images as a basis. There's a CC licence for them in the same folder as the images, so if you make a similar licence on yours (non-commercial, quote the original author and make the result open-source too) you're free to modify and use my work with or without my blessing (which you'd have anyway!). Tell me if you'd like anything specific and don't know Inkscape well.

Meanwhile, I have second thoughts about some placement details:
- I think that the A-Frame may be the better option for ANSI users, because I feel that the bottom left row stagger is a bigger problem than hand separation overall. Someone should use both a bit and see which is more comfortable.
- For the ISO board, I found the movement of the /? and =+ keys simply too annoying.
- Thus, I've now moved the 6 key back to the left hand like Kalixiri's layout. The left hand is spared taking over the =+ key, and the right hand (for some, including me and you) is spared taking over the 6 key. One of Colemak's selling points is not moving keys between hands more than absolutely necessary.
- Also, the problematic lower-middle spot gets the less-used \| key so that the right-hand pinky can keep the /? key; I feel that stretching up instead of down for it is much easier than using the index finger (on an awkward stretch) instead of the pinky. I feel that writing both tags and questions became more harmonic this way; don't you?

On the ANSI boards, you'll need the spot above the home row for the apostrophe and the \| key isn't easily moved since it's wider; it's also further away. So I guess you're better off just sucking it up and using the low-middle position for the /? there. The number 6 versus =+ is another matter, but as mentioned I'd probably go for the 'A-Frame' angle solution instead anyway.

   CmkIBM-ISO60d-Wide351b_Finger.png
      The new Wide-ISO Ergonomic Colemak layout, lighter on the changes

I've put the .REG files in a zipped archive at http://folk.uio.no/obech/Files/Keyboards/ErgoRemaps.zip - this last one is included there.

Last edited by DreymaR (16-Mar-2010 14:31:14)

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As we've already discovered, I am a poor typist and I have an ANSI board. Oddly enough I have ONLY ANSI boards. That being said, I already have the bottom row shifted. CVB on the pointer, X on the middle or ring (depending on the word), and ZX on the ring. For a good typist who follows the guides, the shift might be worth it. Probably is worth it, in fact. For poor typists, I think that taking an extra key off a single finger will not outweigh the advantages of easing pressure off both wrists.

The \ / switch on the ISO is a good idea. I could go either way with the number bar.

The GIMP. How could I have forgotten the GIMP? Granted I haven't used it since I discovered PDN but that is no reason for forgetting it. I think blender might do 2D as well. I haven't messed around much with inkscape, but I guess I need to get around to it sooner or later. And then there is that Plastic Animation Paper program... anyway, thanks for the offer on the images, if I think of anything I'll let you know.

The ErgoRemaps collection looks good. I'd like to see a image for the ANSI Wide board too, not just the A-Frame. Just so people know what to expect and to even things out. Four png's for four reg's. Maybe a README.txt too,  for people who haven't been following the thread and don't think of editing the reg files to see author's notes. (Or check for malicious code)

Another thought, the images probably won't mean much, and could possibly frighten off users of other layouts. Perhaps the remap images should show the repositioning for the big three US boards (Qwerty, Dvorak, Colemak) stacked top to bottom, to highlight that the same key positions were moved on each layout. Or a set of blank boards with color coded before and after images. Like the animations... just like, the animations...  I'll get back to you on that.

Last edited by cevgar (11-Feb-2010 15:23:34)
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Your kind of bottom row shift isn't quite what I recommend:
- Changed fingering means harder to learn (on the other hand, you don't need to implement it on your board)
- The bad stretch to the B isn't helped (this is what has made some other users think up their own solutions - like putting J there)
- The left index finger gets a higher potential for same-finger digraphs (granted, not a lot but still)
- To clear things up: It's not at all about taking pressure off fingers! It's about keeping your wrist straight despite the horrible row stagger, preferably without changes in fingering of (important) letters. An angle shift will do more for this than a 1-key wide shift.

I think we should make a solution that helps good typists no matter what. If it also helps the bad ones, that's a good thing. But they should be encouraged to improve their technique at any rate, for instance good Shift key practice and fingering.

I have vowed to not make QWERTY or Dvorak images with the fruit of my hard labor, although I don't stop anyone else from making them. So in theory I wouldn't make those remap images you want. I may yet rethink it though. The cool animations I'll leave to you.

Last edited by DreymaR (11-Feb-2010 17:44:42)

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Ah, sorry, but I think that might have come across wrong. I didn't mean that I deliberately changed my technique, or that I recommend anyone switch from proper fingering to duplicate what I do. It is just that I've always done it that way. The outward slope the left hand is suppose to take never made sense to me, so I chose to learn it wrong. It is much like the left shift, or the right space. If the stagger wasn't as bad, I suppose I would be tempted to learn the proper fingering though.

Regardless of fingering, I can't help but feel (you are all perfectly free to feel and reason otherwise) the ANSI Wide + zxcvb shift gives up too much benefit for too little return. To each their own, as I obviously cannot speak for the comfort of others.  For me, widening the entire board moderately improves the wrist position for almost all the keys. Shifting to get the proper zxcvb stagger returns all but 5 letter keys to the same positions relative to their starting points. That means it sacrifices moderate improvement I gain on all of the letter keys, for fantastic improvement of just five. If those five were etaio I'd go with the shift, but according to wikipedia  the combined relative letter frequency of zxcvb in English is about 5.5 percent. That doesn't make a particularly strong argument. On the other hand, if the normal typewriter hand spacing doesn't bother you the zxcvb shift is probably brilliant. It is all rather personal in the end.

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I see your argument I think. Thing is though, it's not the wrist position for those five keys as I see it, but the wrist angle, period. I don't change my wrist angle much as I type, and I don't think you should have to either. So to me it feels quite important. I think that if the ZXCVB all have you twist your left-hand wrist inwards, it'll remain that way far too much while typing.

Either way, I think we'll likely end up with three alternatives: One in my view ideal one for the ISO board, and two options for ANSI boards that have less keys to play with (I consider not only the extra VK_102 of the ISO board but also the key between the home position and the Enter key which is usually in the way but can be put to good use in a Wide mod).

Last edited by DreymaR (12-Feb-2010 15:31:35)

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I feel remarkably dense. I was getting frustrated with where this was leading, so I thought about what I might be missing. It may be difficult to believe, but I never gave the specifics of proper technique much consideration. Looking at the choices for hitting the keys with the proper fingers reveals only three options, each worse than the last. Either stretching down to the right at a 45 degree angle from a comfortable wrist position, tilting the whole wrist inward when a key on the lower row needs to be hit, or (a truly horrifying prospect) leaving the left wrist constantly bent outwards to be aligned for the zxcvb stagger. Taken in that light, I understand where you are coming from and the point you are making. Straight steady wrists are paramount. I agree.

Still, not everyone types properly, and... yeah, long story short, three alternatives sounds good. Improper typists might have some adjustment to do on the ISO, but it is in their own best interest.

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Glad you took a new angle on that issue, then!  ;)  But when you say 'wrist constantly bent outwards', I suppose you mean what I'd refer to as 'wrist constantly bent inwards, hmmm?

One more input on the number row:

We've been discussing this before on this forum, when I first made the finger coloring for my keyboard graphics. With the Wide shift I feel that the decision is slightly clearer after trying it both ways. Looking at my colored image, I feel it's very nice and symmetric now that the left and right hand have two keys each and no keys are moved to the left hand which did feel too intrusive when I tried it out.

As you may know, most split ergonomic boards have the '6' key on the left split. So that weighs in too I think.

   goldtouch-GTU0033-split-ergonomic-keyboard.jpg

However, both the TypeMatrix, Maltron and Kinesis Advantage boards have the '6' on the right hand! Then again, those special 'matrix' boards can't take and don't need our Wide mod at all because they redefine the typing surface and remove the usual stagger. So as long as we're talking more standard hardware I think the left-hand '6' key makes sense.

Last edited by DreymaR (15-Feb-2010 11:05:48)

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I think this layout is suitable for flatter keycaps, like chiclet or scissor-switch. On my regular keyboard, I don't feel it that comfortable.

Nice idea BTW! ^_^

Dvorak typist here.  Please take my comments with a grain of salt.

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There are quite a few layouts up there; did you have any particular one in mind spremino, or just the general widening concept?

I'm using a Wide ISO layout now (both the simplest Wide and ZXCVB mods) on different boards including a Unicomp Customizer and an IBM Model M, and I can't say I understand why it should be a problem on non-flat caps?

Last edited by DreymaR (25-Feb-2010 10:30:10)

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Agreed. Specifics, please. I've added a... somewhat limited index to the top of this thread if it helps any.

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  • Colemak extra-wide layout. Alternate home position.