Keyboard Shortcuts - use of Cntrl or Alt keys

18 May 2008 - 8:07pm
6 years ago
2 replies
944 reads
AlokJain
2006

Hi All,

The keyboard shortcuts ion desktop environment have generally been
defined with the use of a supporting key - Control , Alt, Shift (or
command in case of OSX). On other hand newer web apps like gmail use
just alphabet key - http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=6594

I think it is easier to just a single alphabet key and not be confused
if something was Cntrl + C or Alt + C etc.. But I also wonder if
using a single alphabet as shortcut break user's mental model in any
way..

Any thoughts, opinions, research on which approach is better?

Regards
Alok Jain

Comments

19 May 2008 - 3:13am
Apar Maniar
2008

Alok I would say it depends on the application, in a word processor like MS
Word for example the keyboard keys are used for typing hence it would
definitely confuse a user to have the same key do two different things,
although the same could apply to the very window in gmail where I am typing
this as well, so not all web apps use single letter shortcuts I have to use
CTRL + B if I want to type *this *word in bold.

On the other hand if you take an application like photoshop to select or
change various parameters you have plenty of single letter keys being used,
off the top of my head "M" is used to select the marquee tool and repeated
pressing cycles between the available options, but the same key used on a
Text layer would result just in the typing of the letter M on the canvas.

Would love to see what others have to add

Apar

On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 6:37 AM, Alok Jain <alok.ajain1 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi All,
>
> The keyboard shortcuts ion desktop environment have generally been defined
> with the use of a supporting key - Control , Alt, Shift (or command in case
> of OSX). On other hand newer web apps like gmail use just alphabet key -
> http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=6594
>
> I think it is easier to just a single alphabet key and not be confused if
> something was Cntrl + C or Alt + C etc.. But I also wonder if using a
> single alphabet as shortcut break user's mental model in any way..
>
> Any thoughts, opinions, research on which approach is better?
>
> Regards
> Alok Jain
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

--
The goal of the action is the action itself!

19 May 2008 - 9:13am
John Christopher
2008

A recent project I worked on required extensive keyboard key support
while dealing with
a lot of data entry. In this case, it only made sense to support
shortcuts requiring a modifier
(alt+shift+<key>) in our case. This is obviously due to the fact that
a shortcut may be used
while focused on a text input area.

I personally wanted to only use one modifier (alt + <key>) but, the
DOS based interface
we are replacing uses alt+shift and users were used to this setup.

A developer on the team actually wanted me to support multi-key
shortcuts mainly because he thought
it would be cool to have shortcuts that were similar to ViM bindings.
Yuck!

I do like the use of single key shortcuts for navigation (google's
k,j,n, and p keys).

- John

On May 19, 2008, at 3:13 AM, Apar Maniar wrote:

> Alok I would say it depends on the application, in a word processor
> like MS
> Word for example the keyboard keys are used for typing hence it would
> definitely confuse a user to have the same key do two different
> things,
> although the same could apply to the very window in gmail where I am
> typing
> this as well, so not all web apps use single letter shortcuts I have
> to use
> CTRL + B if I want to type *this *word in bold.
>
> On the other hand if you take an application like photoshop to
> select or
> change various parameters you have plenty of single letter keys
> being used,
> off the top of my head "M" is used to select the marquee tool and
> repeated
> pressing cycles between the available options, but the same key used
> on a
> Text layer would result just in the typing of the letter M on the
> canvas.
>
> Would love to see what others have to add
>
> Apar
>
> On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 6:37 AM, Alok Jain <alok.ajain1 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> Hi All,
>>
>> The keyboard shortcuts ion desktop environment have generally been
>> defined
>> with the use of a supporting key - Control , Alt, Shift (or command
>> in case
>> of OSX). On other hand newer web apps like gmail use just alphabet
>> key -
>> http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=6594
>>
>> I think it is easier to just a single alphabet key and not be
>> confused if
>> something was Cntrl + C or Alt + C etc.. But I also wonder if
>> using a
>> single alphabet as shortcut break user's mental model in any way..
>>
>> Any thoughts, opinions, research on which approach is better?
>>
>> Regards
>> Alok Jain
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>
>
>
> --
> The goal of the action is the action itself!
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

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