The Keyboardio Model 01 as used in my standing desk configuration. The lower keyboard shelf holds a Logitech K480 for my PC, phone and other systems.
I’ve been using my Model 01 for a couple of months now and thot my first impressions should be noted for posterity, (as I promised Jesse). I come to the Keyboardio from a different place than most. I have arthritis with limited finger range and a trigger finger or two. I learned to type in high school and I am 72 now. Of course, everything was mechanical back then and I even used an ASR33 Teletype machine for my first programming input device in 1970. My hands are tired and they hurt. Typing and knitting are my most painful uses for them. ! came across Keyboardio thru Kickstarter. After a long winding trail trying out many different (and expensive) alternative keyboards [see photo below] I got my new keyboard… forever the optimist.
I am quite impressed with the Keyboardio. Kaia and Jesse did a great job creating this essential computing peripheral. Most of my comments should be viewed as nothing more than nits applicable to me alone… and maybe just a few others. However, if we view the Model 01 as the trunk of a tree, future branches might include specific design alterations to suit different typists needs and abilities… including accommodating my particular limitations. One-size-fits-all (OSFA) is no longer viable in this modern epoch. Otherwise, we would all still be using the original IBM PC keyboards.
The primary use is on a Mac. My PC laptop has, of course, a built-in keyboard… tho I do Bluetooth the K480 into it when docked. I will eventually set up the Keyboardio so I only need one keyboard for all my systems, including my phone. I just don’t code much anymore beyond a few Python scripts. Mostly, I use Scrivener and LibreOffice to write long form documents… you know, reviews, opinion pieces, a SciFi short story and work on a memoir.
- The width and height of the key rows and columns are a bit too spacious for my hampered reach. The span could be shrunk to about 95% (a guess) to suit me better. Problem is that on our finger scale a mm or two could make a huge difference and too close is worse than too wide.
- The concaved key tops make me lift my fingers to get over to another key, and if this is noticeable to me, they could be improved with shallower divots. However, flat keys like the Apple Chiclets keys are a nonstarter.
- Key travel could be shortened by half to make me happier. But, NEVER go back to membrane keys.
- Key return spring could be a bit lighter… but this is not a big issue for me.
- The ‘a’ and ‘;’ keys are a bit too low compared with the rest of the ‘sdf’ row thus requiring more finger curl than is comfortable. When standing at my desk, this is less of a problem. I’ve used a couple of thin bamboo coasters as palm rests, and that helps but I would need to shape them to suit before suggesting them as a solution… they interfere with the function keys.
The separated keyboards has saved my aching shoulders back and wrists. When seated, the key pads sit right inline with my shoulders and work great with my elbows resting on the task chair arms. Since the new config takes up most of my keyboard space, I’ve put the trackball between them. This works well for me.
Praise Kaia & Jesse for saving my pinkies! Moving the return key to the index finger and the ‘fn’ and thumb keys are just what the lil’ ones needed. Kudos.
I am left handed (yeah, I know). The first modifications to the layout of the thumb keys were to swap the ‘space’ and ‘bksp’ keys. Turns out I didn’t take into account the ‘fn’-‘bksp’ delete key (^H) function and that confused me for a bit. I put little squares of the fuzzy side of hookandloop tape for thumb orientation with some tactile feedback, which helps immensely when touch typing… I think that a thumb ‘Home’ key marker be standardized much like the dimples on the ‘f’ and ‘a’, etc., keys. I suggest a resting notch for the thumbs.
Then I swapped the positions of the ‘shift’ keys with the ‘alt’ & ‘cmd’ keys to make them easier for me to reach. Finally, I moved the ‘cmd’ key to my right hand since document editor keys are mostly on the left key pad.
So far I have only swapped the ‘enter’ and ‘tab’ keys. I may move the ‘enter’ key to the ‘esc’ key position cuz it seems that I keep hitting the ‘esc’ key when I need a newline (or a ‘b’) and the forum editor keeps going nuts.
It would be nice to have 3D printer files so I could manufacture my own keys with the proper labels.
Now I am also considering moving the cursor keys to the left pad.
Note that I am miffed at myself for not making these modifications right out of the box. I started with the default layout so I wouldn’t mess things up before I knew what I was doing. Now, I am forever confusing ‘space’ and ‘bksp’ keys. Grrrr…
I suggest that something similar to this configuration be available as a purchase option for new left-handed users… hey, you go to all that trouble to configure the Keyboardio for righties right out of the box, don’t you? How about some lefty love for the other 15% of the population?!
Actually, the left-handed population of both artists and programmers is closer to 40%, suggesting that lefties are more creative than the general population.
Okay, now I get it… hold the ‘prog’ key down until the flashing process is finished. Guess I missed that in the instructions. Altering the keymap was easy-peasy. I noticed my relief when I realized that… guess I had experienced a modicum of dread at having to learn yet another new system. Kudos. Designed rather well.
I do plan to take on Kaleidoscope later this summer after I get the remodeling and painting of my new house done. Fortunately, C is my favorite language. I’d like to scour the forum for the best ideas to try out.
Glad that I made the purchase! Now that I’ve started tuning the Model 01 to suit me, I am even happier with the Keyboardio.
The open framework of the Keyboardio makes it an ideal platform for prescriptive keyboards where, perhaps, third party ergonomic specialists buy and individually modify keyboards for each of us with non-standard QWERTY fingers and hands.
To that end I suggest a variety of different key switches and caps that can drop right in to suit different user needs. I see three or more options to cover most users, tho that number is just a guess. Sticky keys, for example, can be accomplished in a computer’s OS but putting those functions into the Keyboardio would allow one keyboard to function exactly the same for all of a user’s devices.
Please never lose your high ideals for configuration flexibility.
NOTE: I am not kidding about the awareness of left-handed users. Righties are seldom aware of the left-handed experience, but lefties know all about righties. We sat in your desks in school, used your dumb-assed scissors and, generally, adapted to your world without a fine howdy-do. We have been laughed at cuz we sometimes have trouble using equipment designed for right-handed users, exclusively.
When I designed HDD test equipment I was sorely tempted to put the ‘Go’ button on the left side of the box to get even… but I quickly realized that that would be vengeance and not an example of good engineering. So, the ‘Go’ buttons were placed in the middle of the testers, equally accessible to righties and lefties.
In my new house, I have have biased everything toward the left-handed. When I had my desk built, I had the printer door put on the left. You cannot find a right-handed pair of scissors anywhere. And the kitchen sink! The disposal is in the left side of the double sink so the workflow goes from right to left and the faucet works for the left hand. I chuckle thinking about the new owners of my place when I am dead and gone… they will most certainly curse me. haha
But the Keyboardio is flexible enough to easily fit into any lefties workflow. Just don’t forget us when improving the system… we are not automatically included in right-handed designs.
My home office in 2005 with just a few of the different keyboards that I’ve tried over the years. Keyboardio Model 01 is the best so far.