Equals Annoying

29 May 2005

Walking down the street, carrying an armload of work I started thinking to myself, for most web devs the equals key seems quite a bit out of the way. Don't ask me how this thought came to be, I don't even question it – going along with the flow seems to work better when these sorts of thoughts happen anyway.

So, now that I've said that I suppose I should explain how I came to that conclusion – or at least do my best to convince you that it's possible.

First of all, if you look at it just based on size, the equals key is the same size as all the normal keys. That's fine for normal use, not too many people use the equals key that often. Programmers and developers use the equals key a lot more often that the casual writer or home user though. That alone would justify makinng the key slightly larger.

For the "proper" typists out there, the equals key should be hit with your right pinky finger. That's great and very easy for those experienced typists – I'm thinking of secretary's and authors here – but I don't know too many developers that are "proper" typists.

Not too long ago Dan Cederholm published an entry asking how people type and there were some surprising results, at least to me. It seems that it's an almost even split between people using two or three fingers to type and those sticky mostly to the home keys.

So, with that being the case, the equals key is quite a bit out of the way in its current placement on the keyboard. It may seem trivial but when you're in the zone, coding like a crazy person the closer the keys are to your fingers the faster you can go. Personal experience has shown me that I have the most trouble trying to hit the equals key and it always throws my rythm off.

I know it's completely out of the question to ask manufacturers to create a developer/programmer specific keyboard but it's fun to think about. Maybe someone could just create the Programmers Keyboard Cover™ which would just make the equals key larger for us "equals-challenged" typists.

Which keys, if any, do you find the most troublesome to work with while you're typing or coding?

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