Custom Layouts: Japanese and German

Sekkei

14 Mar 2019, 19:56

[@Mods: second attempt; *edit: new image links]

I started thinking about a custom keyboard for a long time
First, I just wanted an English keyboard layout with swapping Z and Y to have qwertz and the better located special keys (e.g. brackets)
And now I finished my "complete custom" German Layout and made just for fun a Japanese layout (I can't speak japanese).
Mainly because it frustrated me to see such a confusing keyboard where you not even capable of writing without changing between many modes.
("complete custom": as it seems (I did it first without big researching) my custom layout is simply a ~80 key keyboard with more or less standard key positioning.. )


What do you think about them, I would like to hear your opinion, especially if you are german or Japanese

Image

More or less standard, I would say a perfected layout for my needs

Image

Features over common Standard JIS Layout:
* all Hiragana char.
* all Katakana char.
* 0-10 Kanji numbers
* all small Katakana (in [Hiragana]-mode uses Hiragana]
* complete Hepburn set (latin mode)
* switch between Hiragana, Katakana and Hepburn or just between Hiragana and Katakana
(and Kanji with 漢字 -Key and IME)

|1 3|
|2 4|

JIS / OADG Standard exceptions in very light grey

Shift-Key + [Key] in [Hiragana] or [Katakana]-mode uses 4.-Symbol if available
Ctrl-Key + Alt-Key + [Key] in [Hiragana] or [Katakana]-mode uses 3.-Symbol
Ctrl-Key + Alt-Key + Fn-Key or Shift-Key + Fn-Key = normal Fn function

Small Katakana for foreign words are on this keys: AIUEO (Hiragana Version in [Hiragana]-mode)
Small Hiragana and Katakana ゃャ, ゅュ, ょョ have each their own key (include Hiragana ゎ)
Small Katakana are on their representative Key (exception: foreign Katakana and ャ,ュ,ョ)
- if Hiragana Version is available: use [Hiragana]-mode

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matt3o
-[°_°]-

15 Mar 2019, 10:36

only thing I would suggest you is to group the F-keys in 4-key arrays for touch typing (reducing backspace/esc size)

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depletedvespene

15 Mar 2019, 11:09

I am neither German nor Japanese, but...

If you're going to do a full custom keyboard, let me make a few observations:

1) Keyboards as they are nowadays are already right-hand-heavy. If you're adding a full column of alpha keys with symbols, have you considered doing it the left of the 1QAZ column?

2) Mods should be presents on both sides. I don't see RALT (a.k.a. AltGr) there.

3) Mode selectors (as opposed to mods) seem to be plentiful. Have you considered having status lights to tell you on what mode you are at any given moment?

4) Using mod-chords to access the F row strikes me as a bad idea. How will you, for example, press Ctrl-F5 instead of F5? The keyboard is already six row talls as it stands... why not move the F row to two left-side columns, XT-style?

5) The backspace key seems to be too far away (also, I dig the enlarged Del key).

6) The Enter key with that exact size and shape will be a pain to obtain. Go BAE (and adjust the width of the neighboring keys) or go small-ANSI (and gain the space for one more key).

7) Which of all the keys is the Fn key?

8) Swap the euro and pound signs; the way things are going, we'll be using the former way more than the latter quite soon. :mrgreen:

9) I dig that you're also using the dotted circle as a stand-in for the "any letter" when dealing with common diacritics. :-)

Menuhin

15 Mar 2019, 12:45

depletedvespene wrote:
15 Mar 2019, 11:09
...
6) The Enter key with that exact size and shape will be a pain to obtain...
...
At least the above. Easier to obtain normal ANSI Enter or ISO Enter.
Not an expert in the languages concerned either.
Last edited by Menuhin on 18 Mar 2019, 11:31, edited 1 time in total.

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jani80k

15 Mar 2019, 14:50

Do you really need a Caps-Lock key? I have never used that key in my life, it must be from the era of typewriters. The only time I hit that key was on accident...

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vvp

15 Mar 2019, 17:10

I use CapsLock key often when I need to write more capital letters.

The layout is missing PgUp and PgDown keys. I use those often.

I you are going full custom and you touch-type then why not something more ergonomic (split and column staggered). E.g. something like Ergodox?

If you want something off-the-shelf then try Kinesis Advantage. It's firmware supports key remaping and macros.

Sekkei

18 Mar 2019, 03:10

Thank you all for replaying and your tips!
only thing I would suggest you is to group the F-keys in 4-key arrays for touch typing (reducing backspace/esc size)
That's something I considered; reducing the esc key seems to be no problem, but the backspace key would be to small and would need a relocation (With a different enter shape it might work to set both backspace and the del key one row down)
1) Keyboards as they are nowadays been already right-hand-heavy. If you're adding a full column of alpha keys with symbols, have you considered doing it the left of the 1QAZ column?
I didn't think about this, but it's not a full column, not for the iso standard, I moved one key from left to right and add one where the backspace key should be. But I will think about it, although I'm pretty used to use my right hand for all kind of special characters (maybe not the best way to type ^^ I really move my arm to the right if I use these keys. Is this bad in general?)
2) Mods should be presents on both sides. I don't see RALT (a.k.a. AltGr) there.
AltGr isn't needed in this layout and I want to avoid it for more simplicity. Also Alt is generally not a often used key (starting a command/program/whatever mostly used one at a time = not a normal flow writer-user case, programmer-user maybe but more or less to start single commands or tools, gamer-user use them differently)
In the Japanese layout it would make sense because of the possibility to use latin characters quickly but also you should think if this user case make sense at all (would one key for right-handed people be enough)?
3) Mode selectors (as opposed to mods) seem to be plentiful. Have you considered having status lights to tell you on what mode you are at any given moment?
The Japanese layout uses indeed a led indicator to show if you are in the Hiragana, katakana or latin mode (toogle quick between Hiragana and Katakana with the dedicated key right of the space bar (the reuse/absents of the caps-key makes it irrelevant to use a caps-lock indicator.
Maybe I should say that:
13
24
1 = Hiragana, 2 = Katakana, 3 = latin, 4 = special
4) Using mod-chords to access the F row strikes me as a bad idea. How will you, for example, press Ctrl-F5 instead of F5? The keyboard is already six row talls as it stands... why not move the F row to two left-side columns, XT-style?
I would use two fingers or do you mean something else? The F5 function would be operated like normal if you press Crtl F5 or in latin mode with just F5 (latin mode would one be used if writing kanji with the IME or if someone would actually write in Hepburn on the internet ^^)
Yes 6 rows are a lot! The only option would be to remove all Katakana labeling (assume everyone knows the right equivalent of the corresponding Hiragana and move all special characters down, what maybe could look even more confusing as it is
The good thing is only that it would be "easy" to write on 4 rows if you get used to it, my fingers can reach quite comfortably the number row (but this row is middle and ring finger only)
The xt-sytle looks very nice! (But only F1-10 on 5 row keyboards? Bios uses F11 and F12. So they would need a new location) I think I will use this in my German Layout.
5) The backspace key seems to be too far away (also, I dig the enlarged Del key).
Hmm you are right, maybe I should swap backspace and delete, but this would mean a smaller backspace key
["dig" is good is it? Thank you I like it this way too, the delete key is a very usefull function]
6) The Enter key with that exact size and shape will be a pain to obtain. Go BAE (and adjust the width of the neighboring keys) or go small-ANSI (and gain the space for one more key).
then I will go BAE. But is there no manufacturer that has all keys in all shapes? To many dreams? Okay what about 3D printed are there any good?
7) Which of all the keys is the Fn key?
There is no Fn key like on multi function keyboards or laptops. I meant F1-12 sorry!
8) Swap the euro and pound signs; the way things are going, we'll be using the former way more than the latter quite soon. :mrgreen:

9) I dig that you're also using the dotted circle as a stand-in for the "any letter" when dealing with common diacritics. :-)
Haha I didn't intend to be Political but let see how thinks are going ^^ But the pound sign is anyway on second place on this Key
Thank you, It's just easier to understand, No joke I didn't know this until I was 20...
Do you really need a Caps-Lock key? I have never used that key in my life, it must be from the era of typewriters. The only time I hit that key was no accident...
That's the reason I replaced it in the Japanese layout. ^^ I should consider a remove of this key, because your are right, the caps-lock is a rarely used key (In my user-case anyway I didn't write long sentences in capital letters)
The layout is missing PgUp and PgDown keys. I use those often.
Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't these keys just for scrolling? I think I would use my mouse in these cases.
I you are going full custom and you touch-type then why not something more ergonomic (split and column staggered). E.g. something like Ergodox?
Oh no I don't like these ergonomic keyboards, they are to weird for me, especially a split keyboard



Thank you again! I will make a 2.0 version of both Layouts

Anakey

18 Mar 2019, 09:22

Sekkei wrote:
18 Mar 2019, 03:10
The layout is missing PgUp and PgDown keys. I use those often.
Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't these keys just for scrolling? I think I would use my mouse in these cases.

Thank you again! I will make a 2.0 version of both Layouts
Certainly in most games and some other applications pg up and pg down are to scroll through chat or objective log etc and is completely separate to something like the mouse wheel which is often use to cycle weapons etc. Could quite easily be done as a second layer on the arrow keys even putting home an d end which would free up additional full keys assuming your Start key = Home

davkol

18 Mar 2019, 10:41

Are you familiar with existing Japanese input methods?

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vvp

18 Mar 2019, 10:42

Anakey wrote:
18 Mar 2019, 09:22
Certainly in most games and some other applications pg up and pg down are to scroll through chat or objective log etc
Most importantly all the document viewing/editing applications use it to scroll by half or full amount of the currently visible lines. I guess more people view edit text than play games. Though I may be mistaken :-)

You can use scroll wheel if mouse is always available.

Sekkei

18 Mar 2019, 16:01

@Anakey For games you are right, there certainly some games that could use this key. Luckily all PC games allow for remapping, even this is not perfect you could map them to the Start (Home) and End key if they are not used to
But the idea to use mod-chords on the arrow keys is very good! I like this idea, would ctrl + left would be enough or ctrl + alt + left or shift + left?

@vvp I understand this might be a good function if you are searching with your eye (not ctrl+F) in pages but you could also press 3 times down or scroll with the mouse or even use a shortcut with the down key, I don't see the necessarily to have two additional dedicated keys for a special type of scrolling.
But you are all right, there are possibilities to use them, but I wanted to create a simple keyboard with only keys that are really needed (see removal of RAlt / AltGR)

@davkol Yes I looked into this (I read almost everything on this website you linked) The only one that looks promising is the Stickney Layout, but using two characters on the same key just to force 3 row typing seems not work for the most people

Anakey

18 Mar 2019, 16:29

I would say:
  • R Shift + Up = Pg Up
  • R Shift + Down = Pg Down
  • R Shift + Left = Home
  • R Shift + Right = End

Sekkei

18 Mar 2019, 16:37

Anakey wrote:
18 Mar 2019, 16:29
I would say:
  • R Shift + Up = Pg Up
  • R Shift + Down = Pg Down
  • R Shift + Left = Home
  • R Shift + Right = End
Thank you, I will adopt them exactly as you suggest :)
(But with no different betwen RShift and LShift)

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