So, in my search for The Perfect Keyboard™, I stumbled upon a website that allows you to create your own keyboard layouts and prepare them for manufacture in a bunch of different ways. I’m now completely hooked on creating my ideal keyboard on it, something that I simply can’t find anywhere else: a Mac appropriate mechanical (alps) board which has the ten-key but isn’t anywhere near as huge as a full size keyboard.
The numberpad is actually really important to me, because I use Blender and having the pad there is amazingly convenient and one of the things I hate most about using Blender on my MacBook Pro.
So I’ve been messing around experimenting with a basic design, and tweaking it for hours.
My first design was just “get all the keys on the board” which was simple enough, but then I ended up with the cursor keys stuffed under the numberpad, and when it’s the only key on the board that is more than one row high, that Enter key is annoying me. I really like the idea of having a macro key to bring up the character and icon viewer, very handy for getting emoji or ascii symbols up.
The second and third design are almost identical but I decided to go crazy with the colours for the third one. The cursor keys have migrated somewhat, and I’ve faffed with the key placement so there’s no more having to double-up maths commands on the numberpad. I hadn’t thought of a use for the new extra key bottom right yet so it’s still just an extra equals for now.
Also new in this layout is the appearance of a dedicated Siri and Dictation key bottom left, since I never remember what key combination I set for dictation. The other benefit to this is that the control cluster is no longer stretched out like taffy, and I can get the oh-so-neat space bar that lines up with C and M that I love so much about Mac keyboards. No idea why, the spacing is just extra pleasing.
The last design I think nails it. There’s just enough colour to know when you’re hitting an important key, and I have found a use for the extra key on the numberpad. I have also changed it so that only alphanumerics are black, with all modifiers, controls, and punctuation in grey to differentiate at a glance. It also frames the keys rather nicely.
What do you guys think? Do you hate it and everything it stands for? Is having both power and eject flagrantly bourgeois enough? Is my blatant disregard for ANSI key placement making you itch?
And what will you guys make as your perfect layout?