A Keyboard For Old People

25 Sep 2005

Here’s why I think this might work. Old people have learned to read from left to right and from top to bottom. That said, then ‘know’ their alphabet from a to z, and never really had computer classes while growing up. Us youngsters know their way around the keyboard from gaming, back when Commodore and Atari introduced qwerty to our playing hands. The only other people who were using a keyboard were the programmers and accountants who needed computers to make their living. Originally, the typewriter had this qwerty/azerty setup too, but the atmosphere still was school or office related and often avoided or rated ‘for intellectuals’. Then the pc got ‘launched’ and azerty again became an alternative for the qwerty fearing humans. But mainly all keyboards were designed by people who ‘knew’ their business, the computer branch. Nobody ever thought about the fact the letters were illogical to newcomers, nor that the numeric pad was upside down compared to phones.

Often when I teach the elderly how to surf without fear and comminicate through ‘this email thing’, I find them somewhat lost on the keyboard because they can’t find the letters they need that fast. Therefor, typing a document or an email is a very huge mountain to move to them. They mostly type with one finger, but a lot of them use two already, exceptions use more fingers. When they read, the don’t ’scroll’ a text. They read more slowly, and from left to right, line by line. That’s how they look for letters on their keyboard when they type their messages or documents. They’re hardly capable of ‘visually memorizing’ the location of the keys and will time and again start with the A and end with the N, chosing what they need as they pass it.

For these reasons, I think our elder generation might generate more fastness and self-confidence with the ABCDEF-keyboard, with a numeric pad that looks like the dial pad of a phone. This way, they don’t have to ‘think computerly’ but just logically.

old people

€ 34.90 ($42.26) through

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Posted by Miel Van Opstal in Gadgets & Digital Toys, Technology, Thoughts


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