Sunday 31 July 2016

Interview: Professor Eiiti Wada, Creator of the HHKB

A great interview with the creator of the Happy Hacking Keyboard. Questions are decided by a poll in the mechanical keyboard community.

Professor Eiiti Wada:

When America’s cowboys were in the middle of a trip and their horse died, they would leave the horse there. But even if they were in the middle of a desert, they would take their saddle with them. The horse was a consumable good, but the saddle was an interface that their bodies had gotten used to. In the same vein, PCs are consumable goods, while keyboards are important interfaces.

Newcomers might see the slanted key arrangement as strange, and love the squared (ortholinear) layout. But the current pattern is said to avoid the type-bar conflict. The present key arrangement has a functional beauty. Many typists and computer scientists are fully accustomed to it. Once accustomed, human beings can have a hard time learning the slightly different interface. Keyboards should maintain the present layout.