User Interface design for numeric keypads


I have just read Raymond’s User interface design for interior door locks which reminded me of a curiousity.

 

Take a look at your telephone’s numeric keypad. The top row of buttons on mine is 1,2,3. Now look at your computer keyboard numeric keypad or a calculator keypad. For mine, the top row is 7,8,9.

 

A mnemonic to remember a phone number is to visualize the physical path traveled as your finger pushes consecutive digits. It’s inverted when dialing from the keyboard.

 

Go figure

 

 

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Comments (17)

  1. Don Alvarez says:

    Bell Labs did extensive usability testing to determin the keyboard layout that resulted in the lowest error rate and the highest memory recall rate (I think the second-place candidate was two columns of five numbers, but I’m not positive).

    http://www.vcalc.net/Keyboard.htm has copies of a couple short popular articles on touch-tone keyboard layout, but the original usability study doesn’t appear to be online anywhere.

    -Don

  2. You can blame that on the phone company. The keypad on the keyboard is designed to resemble ten-key calculators. Those calculators came along before the push-button phone.

  3. Hank Fay says:

    And there is even a name for those who are able to use the numeric keypad with proficiency: "10-key typist" — even though there are more than 10 keys, even on the calculator keyboard which Craig mentions. A 10-key typist can plow through a stack of checks faster than we software designers can imagine; keeping all their keystrokes on the numeric keypad is an important consideration in design.

  4. Paul Witt says:

    It was my understanding that telephone keypads are opposite keyboard and adding machine keypads because when touch-tone phones first came out the phone company’s system couldn’t handle the speed that accountant-types could punch in a phone number.

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