THE FAT FINGER SYNDROME
I know I have put on a few kilos during last year’s festive season but surely not that much that I am having difficulties hitting the correct keys on my keyboard.
Come to think of it, it’s any keyboard on any device!
Mobile devices, tablets, desktop and even Shopping Centre Information Booths. I’m starting to develop a complex; my family mock my fat fingers; so many errors when I type; I now thank ‘Siri’ and ‘Cortana’, my Personal Assistants for helping me complete simple tasks.
Hello stylus, where have you been hiding?
I find that I use my stylus more than ever before. Tapping away on my keyboard, less likely to make errors as before. The way of working with my devices is changing.
MacMillan dictionary defines fat finger syndrome as ‘accidentally pressing the wrong button when entering details on a computer keyboard’ (Maxwell, 2006). Though I have had no formal typing training, I believe my typing skills are above average. Mostly, my errors are not because I am typing/hitting the wrong key. I’m saying it’s a design fault. Weak or strong sensitivity of the keyboard. How is it possible that I have difficulty navigating the keyboard at an Information Booth at a Shopping Centre when each key is about 3/4 inch square?
Are companies relaxing on the user experience design of the keyboard?
Pressure breakpoints, variable keycap shaping and spacing, key response, keystroke patterns, preferential use of keys, keyboard solutions It’s a love-hate relationship with your keyboard. Chris Weller (2016) from Tech Insider, discusses Microsoft’s 3 design elements that influences a user’s experience: the travel, the snap and the discoverability. The ‘travel’ refers to how far one pushes on the key; the amount of force needed to press a key is the ‘snap’; thirdly, how far your fingers have to move to ‘discover’ the intended keys.
The travel, snap and discoverability in modern keyboards vary significantly. Unfortunately, subjectivity influences ratings of Keyboard brands; it’s obvious to me which brands and keyboards I prefer over others; another time for that conversation. I still let my family get enjoyment over fat finger jokes directed at me even when I fumble my cutlery at dinner, but my self-esteem has risen knowing that perhaps it’s the tools rather than my physical disposition that is creating errors in my online communications.
Maxwell, K. (2006). Fat finger syndrome. Retrieved from http://www.macmillandictionary.com/buzzword/entries/fat-finger-syndrome.html
Weller, C. (2016). Three design elements explain why you either love or hate your keyboard. Retrieved from http://www.techinsider.io/how-keyboard-design-works-2016-1