charachorder

So I just got my charachorder a few days ago.

I learned of this device when Improving acquired CodeLaunch, as this was one of the companies ‘launched.’ I’m somewhat of an ergonomic enthusiast, having explored a number of different keyboard input devices.

The Good
I’ve given it some practice. It’s a whole new way to type. 9 4-way sticks on each hand allow the input of characters, and there is some kind of chording mode that I haven’t gotten into yet. I’m just learning the basic way to input a character at a time. I can tell they 3d-printed the backing plate, and it came out well. I’m looking forward to getting proficient with the device and learning how to chord. I did a little bit of steno learning on my ergodox which emulated a steno board, and I found the experience to be quite exhiliarating.

The Bad
I do not like the 2 sticks for the thumb. I guess they needed that many to fit all the characters in, but I feel like using the pinky more would have been better. I’m sure they did studies to find the best place to put each key, but I do find myself annoyed at having to constantly move my thumbs between the two sticks. My thumbs are perhaps the least dextrous of my fingers, having previously been relegated to spacebar duty only. Even on the thumb cluster on my ergodox infinity, its just spacebar/enter and tab/delete. THe other keys on there basically don’t get used by my thumb. only when i shift my hand do I access them with my pointer finger.
The joysticks are a little bit too sensitive. I’m used to hammering keys and this takes a bit more finesse to use properly. Also my hands are slightly too big. I can tell they designed this around an average hand size and mine a little bit bigger than average.

The Ugly
The quick reference guide has an error in it, which I told them about. It also does not accurately reflect the orientation of the thumb sticks correctly. They should be angled on the guide as they are aligned in-line with each other, not staggered as the guide makes it seem. They line up properly with the orientation of the thumb, but the guide makes it seem like they would be angled with ‘axis’ of the thumb. By that I mean the line which the thumb naturally travels along during extension and contraction. Of course opposable thumbs mean this line can move quite a bit but if it were aligned in-line with the buttons, it would lie correctly along the up/down movement of the sticks. In short, its a problem with the graphic, not the design of the device. And the learning software(in beta) does not enlarge itself when changing size of the window. On a 4k monitor with no magnification, this is a slight annoyance. Of course I could just turn on maginification, but I likes my screen real estate.