Detour into an esoteric moded keyboard layout

I was feeling some strain in my arms, but that turned out to be something else than strain from typing with keyboards. Eventually I ended just adding a new modifier layer that gave me some easier keyboard commands for writing symbols such as $, / or @, or any of the three parentheses pairs there are in the ascii character alphabet. But before that I thought about and tried a bit more exotic keyboard layouting method.

During the short period of use I found this layout to be encouraging. It was less straining than the previous layouts. It also came out with problems and difficulties that turned out to be very difficult to solve.

This is my desktop:


I have had this unusual looking keyboard a long while now. It doesn't nearly always feel like the smartest design, but it works for what it is.

Five modes

I'm using a splitted keyboard, and I tend to think of them as separate units. Although it's just a splitted keyboard, I like to think of the both halves as individual units.

I converted the number rows into mode switchers and both halves got five modes that were individual from each other.

Whenever I would like to type numbers or symbols, I would change the mode by pressing some of the keys in the number column.


I enjoyed the multi-modal layout because the layout succeeded to reduce strain and pressing individual keys rather than chords is faster.

Getting used to it was turning to be challenging too. Typing would require you to choose the correct shelf every time when you start typing. Choose the wrong shelf and you type garbage for some while before you consciously notice that.

The worst problem in this layout was that it made the typing of numbers mixed with alphabet characters much more difficult than what I appreciated.

The ditch

When trying to solve these problems I didn't find a good enough starting point for improving the layout while not making it impossible to learn.

I reverted to a much simpler model where I just have an additional modifier keyboard, which lets me type shift+number column on the left keyboard side and alt+number column on the right keyboard side. That turned out to be a simpler addition into the layout.

I enjoyed what I felt for a moment when using the layout with five modes. I may return to the subject some day.