Why not ortholinear

I think ortholinear is more ergonomic.
How about making the next version of UHK as ortholinear?

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We’ll make UHKs of various layouts, including an ortho-linear one. Our roadmap is not public, but please subscribe to our newsletter, and we’ll keep you updated about new products.


I would be interested in an ortholinear one, but I don’t get the argument that it is more ergonomic.

Surely you need to move your fingers from side to side to press the two middle columns of an ortho board, or shift or enter etc?

I’d be interested in an ortho board because I think I’d be more accurate with my keypresses. Having to re-learn touch typing to properly use a split has made me realise how ridiculous the staggered layout is when you look at what keys are meant to be pressed by which fingers. That slant from the top left to bottom right makes typing quite asymetrical for anything other than the home row.

I have no experience with ortholinear and have read mixed experiences of people who have used them. I have experience with a columnar stagger layout (model 100 from keyboardio) and think that it might be best to go the full way to create a keyboard with a columnar stagger. That can feel really comfortable. But one must not think that this would resolve all problems or hand movements. Some keys are easier to reach than on a row staggered standard keyboard, but some are also harder to reach! What of course is better is the symmetric hand positions.
Another option could also possibly be a layout with mirrored stagger left and right. I have closely looked at the standard stagger and think that the stagger on the right side is mostly beneficial, but is too large on the lower row and should also be 1/4 key as same as the top row. The stagger is more helpful on the lower row than on the top rows also.

What I ask myself is what is the best compromise for UHK? There are already many options with thumb keys on the market – which are almost always used with that type of key arrangements.

But what makes UHK special (besides the modules of course) is that it is not using thumb keys as such and is pretty close to a standard keyboard, while still giving a lot more options. The benefit I see is the easier transition between UHK and a laptop or other peoples keyboards. I think this is for many a very important benefit. I would not want UHK to loose that option.

So IMO the “best” key arrangement for UHK-ergo" would allow to use people typing with the used fingers like on a staggered keyboard, but ideally also give those who want the chance to use different fingerings. Dygma has some good ideas about this, but I have not tried the Defy and do not know how good it works in practice.

I think the current UHK “double space” bar + 2 case-keys is a pretty good middle-ground in that sense. An important advantage of a space-bar is that it is wider and people with different hand sizes or fingers (gamers in WASD-mode for example) can easier adjust to that, then when having thumb keys which might not match to their hand size/ preference where their thumb feels most comfortable.

Last not least it is questionable how ergonomic a thumb cluster is. Overuse of the thumbs can become quicker problematic, as I can imagine, compared to the other fingers. Why? Simply because the thumb is not meant mainly for moving in the direction you need to move for pressing a thumb key. It is o.k. but not the optimal direction for the thumb movement/ strength! So I think it is good not to use the thumb too much as well!

Lastly a very important point is that UHK must not make the mistake to have a fixed integrated palm support. For best ergonomics it is best to type with floating hands and then you want the keyboard very close to the body and the palm rest does not allow to position the keyboard close to the front edge of the table/ keyboard tray. An optional palm rest is very welcome for people who prefer it, but let the people also choose if they want it or not (or allow to create custom palm rests).

I tried ortholinear keyboards, but I was happy that I did not buy one. Even after a week I had many problems to hit the right keys. For this reason I was happy to buy a UHK-1 and was able to work with it after some hours to train for the cursor-keys etc.

Of course the reason behind this is that I use normal keyboards for more than 30 years … but I wanted a better / more ergonomic keyboard without needing to train for months.

I am very happy wth my UHK-1 and 2, of course more options are always better.

I may be subjective and non-exhaustive in my research, but there are many mechanical orthos available out there, while only a few staggered: UHK, Dygma Raise and a few more (https://jhelvy.shinyapps.io/splitkbcompare).

I was looking especially for a staggered keyboard. That’s how I became a happy UHK owner.

So, I want to say “thanks” to the team for going this unpopular way :slight_smile:

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I personally like the staggered because i’m used to it, but I imagine ortho is more appealing to people who are in the split keyboard space.

There is an investment that all of us are making when we learn a layout. I applaud UHK for going with the traditional stagger. Most of us are VERY familiar with it, and it allows us to make a return on the time we have invested on it. However, it also allows us many ergo features that we are not used to. Now having used an ortho kb for a long time (ZSA Moonlander) I am very much in favor of the layout, but I will say that with the UHK you are immediately rewarded for the time you have invested in typing. The kb is designed for productivity first. That is important and one of the reasons I really like the UHK.