The keyboard is something that has become such a widespread and everyday commercial use that these details often go unnoticed. The notches on the F, J and 5 on the numeric keypad on keyboards, they’ve always been there, and we use them on a daily basis without realizing or knowing what they’re for, but once you do, they can change the way you use this extremely common device.
Why do keyboards have these notches on some keys?
If you look at the QWERTY keyboard that you use daily with your PC, you will notice that there are a total of three keys (as we said before, F, J and the 5 on the numeric keypad) that have small notches or rather protrusions. It doesn’t matter what keyboard you have, whether you use a laptop or have a Apple Mac, those notches will be there, and you’ve probably never wondered why.
These three keys are part of the center row of keys on the QWERTY keyboards, called the start line. The purpose of these notches on the F and J keys is to guide the user to position their hands correctly according to typing standards, so that they can position them correctly on the keyboard to reach all the keys equally without looking, as if it were braille code.
According to these notches, the index finger of the left hand should be placed on the notch of the F key, while the index finger of the right hand should be placed on the J key, so that the rest of the fingers of both hands remain arranged in an organized way to be able to reach the rest of the keyboard keys without problem.
In fact, for most people, these notches are of little use in everyday keyboard use. This is because most people have never taken typing lessons and instead rely on their experience after a l ong period of using keyboards; For this reason, over the years and years of self-evolved typing habits, people have their own way of using the keyboard and you would be surprised at how quickly a person who has never learned to type. can write. typing
However and with everything, a professional typist will always have a higher speed but above all greater precision when writing (you can check, for example, the 10FastFingers database, in which you will see that an “average” user is capable of typing 80 PPM (words per minute), whereas a professional can exceed 200.
And it is shown that no matter how experienced you are with using a keyboard, those who have taken typing lessons are able to type much faster and be much less mistaken than those who do not. … and for that there are these notches on the keyboards, because one of the most important things in learning to type is to position your hands correctly on the keyboard so that you can write without looking at it; These notches are just for that, because knowing that you must place your index fingers on the notches you will be able to do it without having to look thanks to the sense of touch.
The exceptions that prove the rule
Of course, in the world we live in, not much is completely universal and therefore we also find exceptions when it comes to keyboard notches. For starters, they have no use in the keyboards of touchscreen devices like the smartphones so prevalent today; in our smartphones and tablets We mainly use our thumbs to type, and although we can type very quickly this way, researchers began to feel the need to create a keyboard that was faster than the keyboard. QWERTY, the most widespread.
Obviously, on a smartphone you don’t write like on a PC keyboard: you don’t have your hands resting on the table or both hands ready with all your fingers ready to press the keys, but as a general rule you write holding the device with both hands and typing just with your thumbs. This creates difficulties in two ways: the typing speed is limited and of course it is supremely lower than what can be achieved on a PC keyboard, and on the other hand, with the screens of more and more devices. larger, it is quite difficult to reach the keys that are in the central area.
For these reasons, researchers created a new type of keyboard called KALQ, with a rather unusual distribution that shifts the most frequent keys to the edges of the screen, leaving the central area practically blank or only with a numeric keypad there. Currently, this type of keyboard is not extended and can only be used by installing third-party applications, but the intention is to expand its use to make it a standard on touch screens.
Touch screens obviously do not have those notches characteristic of PC keyboards as there is no tactile sensation on the fingers possible, but there are also other exceptions like non-QWERTY keyboards; While it is true that the layout of the QWERTY keys (and its variants such as AZERTY) are the most typical and widespread in the world, there are other layouts such as DVORAK or keyboards TypeMatrix which are also widely used and that in some cases they do not have these notches or, if they do, they are located on different keys.