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Does anyone else think that standard advice about finger positioning is designed for people with far longer pinkies than humans actually have?

For example, I'm starting to think that a QWERTY layout (with the normal asdf home row) would be more comfortable if the outer keys were shifted down like in the picture.

Do you feel the same? Or do I just have freakishly short pinkies? Or am I just somehow holding it wrong?

> Does anyone else think that standard advice about finger positioning is designed for people with far longer pinkies than humans actually have?

For example, the image below (from the "touch typing" Wikipedia article) clearly seems to depict some sort of humanoid alien with fingers of exactly equal length.

I may not know what a natural typing position is, but I know it's not *that*

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> I'm starting to think that a QWERTY layout (with the normal asdf home row) would be more comfortable if the outer keys were shifted down like in the picture.…Or am I just somehow holding it wrong?

After a bit more experimentation and reading, I've concluded that "you're holding it wrong" *was* the correct answer in this case.

Specifically, I think I've been placing my keyboard ~8 inches too far forward, which changed the angles involved just enough to throw my pinkies out of alignment

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@mdhughes

> Your keyboard is broken. It should look like [an IBM Model M]

Fair enough; I'd never argue with that.

But that doesn't answer the question – where would your fingers comfortably fit?

@codesections My fingers fit fine on Qwerty, pinkies are a little shorter than ring finger, but I hold my hands at a 30° angle out, so they're all level against the keys. Also I remap capslock to ctrl as Bill Joy intended, so I can ctrl-key quickly.

@codesections i do think most of my fundamental issues with keyboard layouts boil down not to the order of keys - qwerty is fine, whatever, i'm sure as fuck not going to learn anything else at this stage in my brain's inevitable decline - but how much work is expected of the pinky and how little the stronger fingers can easily reach ctrl/alt/shift/etc.

@codesections, I’d say that picture doesn’t show how highly the middle fingers arch up to go back to where the pinky can rest.

@codesections
My fingers are not like on the picture. But I learned at school to write with all 10 fingers 😉 On the beginning it was not easy, but now I don't have problem with that.

@codesections what this image doesn't really show, is that the index, middle and ring finger have more of a curve than the pinky, or at least they do in my case. For me, the pinky touches the A at 30-ish °, while the middle finger hits the D nearly straight on.

@codesections My "home row" on this coroporate HP Elitebook laptop appears to be ASDV NKL; – the arms come in at an angle so that the pinky is on the home row but my index finger is too short.

@kensanata @codesections For me it's QWEF JIO[ with both thumbs on SPC.

The standard ziggy zaggy layout is that of typewriters where you move whole forearm to type, just moving fingers is to weak for a mechanical typewriter. It's a bit more comfy that way, just moving fingers around is pretty hard on my palms. But usual keyboards are too squishy to type accurately like that. Also we need to use control keys more often and that's tough unless you strictly hit mod w/ one hand and key w/ other.

@cadadr @codesections Ah, yes. My thumbs are also too short, resting somewhere between space and trackpad...

I guess that's why @technomancy is using staggered columns for the Atreus. Makes sense to me. I never bothered to check whether I'd use a different staggering based on my own finger lengths.

@kensanata @codesections @technomancy Atreus' layout looks very comfy, tho didn't get to try yet.

I wonder how it'd be like with a thinkpad "nipple" in the middle and 3 clicks under thumbs.

@cadadr @kensanata @technomancy

> Atreus' layout looks very comfy, tho didn't get to try yet.

It *is* really comfy. I'm working on a long review post right now, but the short version is that I love it!

> I wonder how it'd be like with a thinkpad "nipple" in the middle and 3 clicks under thumbs.

This wouldn't get you the TrackPoint™ Style Pointer (related m.xkcd.com/243/ ), but you actually *can* program the keys to send mouse clicks.

@kensanata @cadadr @codesections yeah on the Atreus the topmost outer pinky column keys are typically hit by the next finger over. you could certainly move the Q down a row if you wanted to use your pinky on it but there's nothing wrong with using a different finger.

@technomancy @kensanata @cadadr

> yeah on the Atreus the topmost outer pinky column keys are typically hit by the next finger over.

Wait, really? I'm very supprised by that – I thought that a big goal of the Atreus layout was to *avoid* diagonal finger movements?

@codesections @kensanata @cadadr
> I thought that a big goal of the Atreus layout was to *avoid* diagonal finger movements?

well yes, but within the limits of human physiology! we can't get rid of the TGB / YHN columns entirely either; all we can do is minimize awkward movements.

@technomancy @kensanata @cadadr

> well yes, but within the limits of human physiology! we can't get rid of the TGB / YHN columns entirely either; all we can do is minimize awkward movements.

Yeah, I get that.

But the Q and Y keys (in a QWERTY layout) are typically hit with a vertical movement of the pinky – at least the way most touch typing is taught. So saying to hit those keys with the ring finger is actually *increasing* diagonal motion from the baseline (hence my surprise)

@codesections @kensanata @cadadr if you hold your hands straight on a conventional keyboard, you can't hit Q with your pinky; you can barely hit A with your pinky.

it's only once you angle your hands that you can reach that key. once your hands are angled like that, reaching for Q is a diagonal movement, as is every top-row left-side key.

@technomancy @kensanata @cadadr

> if you hold your hands straight on a conventional keyboard, you can't hit Q with your pinky; you can barely hit A with your pinky.

That's a good point, and gives me something to think about as I customize my Atreus layout.

Just for clarity, what keys do you view as the "home row" on the Atreus/where do you rest your fingers?

I'd thought it was ASDF BkSp Space (thumbs) JKL;

But it sounds like you keep the pinky one row down from there?

@codesections no, for me the pinky rests on the A key. it's just resting in its fully extended position and only reaches downwards.

at least, that's how I use it. I wouldn't say there's only one right way, and maybe shifting the outer columns down by 1 is better for you; try it out and see for yourself!

@technomancy

> no, for me [when using the ] the pinky rests on the A key. it's just resting in its fully extended position and only reaches downwards.

That makes sense, thanks!

> at least, that's how I use it. I wouldn't say there's only one right way, and maybe shifting the outer columns down by 1 is better for you; try it out and see for yourself!

Oh, I definitely have been experimenting and will keep doing so! I'm really loving this keyboard

@technomancy @kensanata @cadadr @codesections Am I a mutant, because I press both Esc/Tab and Backspace/Enter with my little fingers, not just Q and P?

@codesections Yes, I never learned to type on a keyboard (I was put in front of a computer without explanations as a child and so I learned to type with two fingers instinctively). So now When I try learning properly, I have two problems. First, I have to overcome the frustration of typing the "proper" way being so much slower until I get good at it. But second, *why are my finger so &?"¤$£@ twisted, does anywone really do that???* How do I seriously reach this key with my pinky???

@codesections Who is responsible for this layout, IBM? It surely came from typewriters.

@codesections For sure. I have an Atreus (your pictured keyboard) and while it's pretty comfortable, I prefer the "pinky row" on my Keyboard.io Model 01, which is shifted down a little bit more relative to the others. I rarely ever have to adjust my hands on either keyboard, due to their stagger.

@ethanmad

> I prefer the "pinky row" on my Keyboard.io Model 01, which is shifted down a little bit more relative to the others.

Interesting! Looking at the Model 1 does add some support to what I was thinking.

> I have an Atreus (your pictured keyboard)

well spotted. Yeah, I'm thinking about this because I'm configuring an Atreus, and it would be trivial to move the pinky keys down like that

(So trivial that I've already done so; now I just need to decide whether to keep the change)

@codesections I recommend the Atreus highly! I got it as a portable keyboard but I'm using it full time now. Very comfy. (But the Model 100 will probably be my long-term keyboard when it comes out.)

@codesections I realized I completely misunderstood your post.

I'm actually happy with both the Atreus and the Model 01 with their pinky keys in their default locations thanks to the arrangement of the keys. I haven't tried shifting the pinky keys down as you described. One thing I noticed with the Atreus is that it is *way* more comfortable to type on with fingers floating (close to perpendicular to keys) rather than flat with the keys.

@ethanmad

> One thing I noticed with the Atreus is that it is *way* more comfortable to type on with fingers floating (close to perpendicular to keys) rather than flat with the keys.

Thanks, I'll have to give that a try. I guess that means holding your fingers with significantly more of an arch than you otherwise would?

@codesections Yes, and elevating my palms above the desk too.

@codesections The whole keyboard layout is designed to be inefficient, isn't it?

@tewha @codesections In theory, yes, but most people won't learn Dvorak at full speed, and still have to practice Qwerty.

I competed at Typing of the Dead with Qwerty and Dvorak users, but in the end it came down to Qwerty me and another Qwerty guy. He won, because I'm insanely fast on long words, but he was faster from dead start on short words.

@mdhughes @codesections Yeah, I’m not really arguing for switching to Dvorak. All but the craziest of us are stuck with QWERTY now. :)

@codesections I never use my pinky to reach Q. For me on my laptop it usually rests on Z while most of my other fingers rest above the home row. The "proper" way to keep your fingers on the keyboard never felt comfortable for me.

@ignaloidas @codesections @mdhughes @tewha
I quitted using keys Q, Y, B, 1, 6, 7, backspace, shift, enter, ... a decade ago. I have remapped key combinations and use scissor keyboard from keysonic so that i use thumbs for control, alt, shift, and altgr remapped on keys next to its small space key.

@hyde @codesections I would like to, but I would need to have a keyboard specifically for this. It is hard enough typing blindly with the "German" or "Arabic" layout.

@codesections i think the kyria keyboard is designed with extra vertical stagger to address this issue

@codesections I never was taught how to type, so I don't use this fingering position necessarily. I learned how to spell my name by touch and pretty much go by that. I would like to learn the Dvorak keyboard layout. I have to switch between German, English and Arabic keyboard layouts, so it can get confusing. I play Piano/Keyboard and some music I play, my fingers are not really long enough to hit the notes properly. I can just about play a perfect octave with my thumb. and pinky.

@codesections You are absolutely right: most keyboards have an absurd key staggering. Yet, some ortholinear keyboards provide anatomically correct staggering, see jhelvy.shinyapps.io/splitkbcom Filter -> Column stagger -> Aggressive
Also, querty is a mess. #Dvorak provides the best combination of low finger travel and hand alternation.

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