What's the science behind the default layout

Hi - it has been cool to read about the whole process of getting the Model 01 manufactured. What a journey!

I am sure many person-hours have been put into researching and deciding what the default layout should be. Can I ask (@jesse?) is there something written down about why the default layout was set to what it is; that is, what’s the science behind it? Who is the audience for usage out of the box?

Also generally, what do people do about switching back to a laptop or another machine with a stock keyboard? Are you remapping keys on your laptops too?


I bring my Model 01 with me because it became so unbearable to type on a normal keyboard after getting used to it…the recently-released carrying case has made that quite a bit easier.


I have two different ergonomic keyboards: the Model 01 is at the office and at home I use a TrulyErgonomic 209. I tried to make both layouts as close as possible but in the end I realized not only that that was futile but also that after some minutes working with any of them my fingers know where each keys are located.

When I have to use another keyboard I give up and slowly type only with the indexes


haha, “resistance is futile” eh.

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The “science” was more about the physical layout of the keyswitches. The logical layout we went with was more about empirical testing and some deeply held beliefs.

The theory behind the layout is that your thumbs are strong and dexterous in a way that your pinkies just aren’t. So we moved as much of the extra work and as many of the “chorded” keys that your pinkies usually hit over onto your thumbs.

The positions of the dual shifts and controls at the outside edges of the arcs were chosen because it’s possible to use an alternate hand to hit those. So even if they’re a bit more of a stretch, it’s not as bad as if we’d put space, backspace, cmd, and alt at the outside edges.

Are there specific keys you have layout questions about? I’d be happy to try to explain or reconstruct the logic behind their positioning.


Thanks @jesse, that’s great info!
No specific questions from me, since I’m just trying to figure out how to make it work. I did notice that even though I switched the shifts to the lower left and right corners, that feels off and I’m thinking about just putting it back. It just takes time, as you make clear on the site.

How about a carbon fiber “ultra portable” version that is easy to schlep, but is able to be placed on top of a macbook pro or Dell or whatever, to use while you’re on the road! :wink:

We’d originally planned for the Model 01 to fit on top of a laptop and just found that it…didn’t make sense.

I hear you on a lightweight keyboard for travel. Nothing specific to announce today :slight_smile:




Well that’s promising. :smile:

In countries like Japan, where space is a premium, there’s always just no room. It’s why the PFU HHKB is so popular here. It’s super light and portable, and, small enough to be crammed into the little spaces people do work in over here. Just my two yen.

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Understood. The HHKB is a thing of beauty that has spawned countless imitators.

I have been looking at getting a minidox as a travel board, because it quite closely matches the core on a keyboardio.

Actually, I was at a keyboard DIY shop (yushakobo) that recently opened in Akihabara Tokyo, near where I am, and I tried a minidox someone had built. It is really small.