What would your ideal keyboard work like?

Inspired by the emacs threads.

I have coordination problems, so can’t type with two hands, and can’t type without seeing where my hand is on the keyboard. I’d like:

A fairly small keyboard.

If it has the Windows Start/Page Up/Page Down/End keys, it shouldn’t squeeze them in next to the enter and shift keys.

If at all possible, it should have lights for active modifier keys, including command, option, shift, etc. when using Sticky Keys. My Mac shows active modifier keys at the top of the screen, but I have to watch the keyboard, so I can’t see the active modifier keys or the results on the screen as I’m typing.

It should be possible to tilt up the left side, for right-handed users, or the right side, for left-handed users, or the middle, for both-handed users.

If it has a keypad, it should be detachable.

It should have a row of computer-setting keys and a separate row of function keys, because as it is, I can’t use shortcuts which involve function keys.

It shouldn’t require users to go through an “Emoji and Symbols” window to get to hvair.


P.S. I’ve had a lot of trouble with Sticky Keys, so I could really use a keyboard that worked well with it. Or a version of Dragon that worked well with the Mac.



My ideal keyboard would be backlit, with those fancy OLED keycaps. Mechanical but the ability to change to clicky noise to whatever I wanted. And the whole case should be OLED too, so I can play calming, swirly fluffy cloud effects over it.

Layout should be like one of those fancy ergo ones and it should be split-able with two detachable keypads, one for each hand. One for numbers, one for the most commonly used emojis. And it all should be customisable, so I can change each key to whatever I wanted.

Built-in remote controls for the telly and such would be awesome, too. And all wireless, plz, So I can put it anywhere.

Oh, and it needs to cost less than about $30 or so.

Does anyone here design keyboards?


My ideal keyboard would not sit flat on a desk.

I just put my arms and hands into “typing position” and it looks like I’m either doing the Thriller dance, imitating a T-Rex, or creeping across a room in a cartoon. It’s not a natural position for my hands or arms.

I don’t know what the better option is, but even “ergonomic” keyboards don’t seem to work in ways suited to the hand’s natural articulation.


i’d love a keyboard something like this one, which happens to be the kind of keyboard i learned to type on–


Thought control. I imagine it on the page, and it appears.


Actually, though, if we ever do get brain-machine interfaces working properly, I’d expect a wireless solution. Puncturing the brain’s protective membranes is not a thing you want to do if you can avoid it. Meningeal infections ain’t fun.


You know, there’s actually been some progress on that front:


I don’t know if your perfect keyboard exists, but

Have you looked at Tenkeyless keyboards?


Like this? (it fails on your function key requirement, I’m just using it as an example)

Alternatively, get a Cherry keyboard and just remove the keycaps for anything you don’t want. I would guess you would want something like Cherry Red switches based on what you have said about your disabilities previously. Blues are clicky and even the supposedly quiet Browns are still loud. Blacks are supposed to be silent but need more pressure to push.


Maybe someone has made a rubber dome keyboard with removable keycaps.

I don’t think this currently exists. I don’t see why it shouldn’t though. It would probably require custom Sticky Keys software though.



Since I’m a complete sucker for style over function, I am very tempted to make one of those Planck keyboards @beschizza mentioned next time they appear on Massdrop.



Is a good place to start.

Design the keyboard you want, export the dxf files, have the plates cut, buy a bunch of keys and a Teensy microcontroller and then find a friend to solder it all up.


What’s with the extra thing in the way in front of the keys in that and the concrete keyboard?

I’ve mostly looked at mini keyboards, so smaller, and with less between keyboard and mouse. Also, on that link, who uses “whom” in the nominative?

Yes. I used an Adesso mini keyboard and had a lot of trouble. I switched to a Logitech mini keyboard without those. I see that one has them out of the way. I figure that if I removed keys, I’d still slip and hit the switches, so I don’t think that would be an improvement.

Yes. But it would be really really useful. I know I’m not the only one complaining about accessibility problems with Sticky Keys.


I guess it’s an artisinal wrist pad made out of a found piece of wood.

Normally they look like this:


But… it’s wood… how can it be a pad?


Substitute rest for pad.


I love these, but where are the number keys?

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Numbers (and many of the other keys you might use) are accessed via modifier keys (or in the case of things like the Plank, layers of functionality).

My only real requirement for a keyboard is easy access to special characters. Switching back and forth between US QWERTY and German QWERTZ formats would help a lot. However, the ability to add an accent or mark to a character would help even more. This includes the less common marks such as ą, ę, ł, ń, ś, ć, ź, ż, etc


On another layer.

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I use Caps Lock as a compose key on my linux computers. I don’t need it often, but I use it more than Caps Lock.