A MAN FROM MICROSOFT told an audience of 400 system integrators today that despite extensive research that resulted in the Natural Keyboard, it has now realized that actually it’s rather an unnatural design.
The split keyboard approach was heralded with a blaze of publicity when it was launched in the 1990s. It would aid your typing, it would reduce the incidence of repetitive strain injury, and in short it was bloody ergonomic, Microsoft said then, without using the bloody word, of course.
We reviewed this keyboard for a magazine we were editing at the time, and reproduced the entire article the way it was coming out compared to a flat keyboard.
But the Microsoft hardware executive, Marco C. Chillon from the EMEA home and entertainment division, said this morning that after more years of research, the firm had realized that the Natural Keyboard involved people learning how to re-type. So instead it has designed a new wireless keyboard with only a six degree angle between the two sets of keys from the home keys.
Sheesh. All that wasted effort! Touch typists would have little problem with Natural Keyboards, but we’re a touch typist and it gave us a heck of a problem. At the time.