When you search for new software for your computer, either for the office or for home use, one of the largest selling features is that the program is ‘user-friendly.’ What you hope is that the user they tested the program with is not another computer programmer. Face it programmers speak a totally different language than the rest of the world. What’s easy for one may be a nightmare for the computer-challenged.
It’s the same thing with keyboards. New keyboards come with new terminology like ergonomically designed. This means the keyboard was designed to be used with the arms, hand and fingers in a natural position when the user is typing – if they know how to type without looking at the keys. When you see police officers and detectives on television filling out their reports, generally they are using two fingers and looking at the keys. Most college students today have not taken a formal typing course and have taught themselves how to type, sometimes finding the keys by touch, sometimes by old-fashioned looking.
Many companies that have larger servers and several proprietary software programs will have keyboards specially made and programmed to transmit data to their mainframes. This is where IT designers and manufacturers have really honed in on the term ‘user-friendly.’ Some of these keyboards are much larger than a standard typing keyboard and have incorporated separate keys for changing screens and making on-line commands. Fortunately for the users, these special keys are generally highlighted by being a different color than the everyday black keys.
Another feature that manufacturers are bringing to the new keyboards is the ability to see the letters on the keys in low light (maybe the paint is reflective) and/or the keyboard letters are larger. There is a huge portion of the workforce that is over the age of 40. Anyone who types much of the day who is in this age range will tell you their arms cannot stretch far enough to see the smaller lettering. The designers have really tested the waters as to who the user is in “user-friendly.’
Electrone has a full line of programmable keyboards and keypads that are designed for POS use and even have magnetic card reader modules. They also offer custom keyboards for corporations who need specialized keyboards for their mainframes.