Low Profile Keyboard Design Conference Paper uri icon


  • The growing usage of tablets and the introduction of ultrabooks have increased consumer demands for smaller, lighter, sleeker, and more mobile devices. With computing technologies gravitating towards thinner designs, there is increased pressure to reduce key travel in order to accommodate the reduced thickness. It is important to understand how reductions in key travel may affect users' performance and preferences. The main goal of this study was to examine how physical key characteristics affect user performance and preference on various computer keyboards. Four keyboards varying in key travel distances from 0.0 mm to 2.0 mm were compared. Participants completed a 7-minute typing task on each of the four keyboards. Typing performance (speed and accuracy) was collected for each of the keyboards. The results showed that words per minute were higher with the 1.6 mm and 2.0 mm keyboards and lower with the 0.4 mm and 0.0 mm keyboards. The 0.0 mm keyboard had a lower accuracy than the other three keyboards. Performance and usability ratings were significantly lower for the 0.0 mm keyboard compared with the other keyboards. Overall, both subjective and objective measures of performance and usability showed that the1.6 mm keyboard was preferred. Copyright 2013 by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Inc.

author list (cited authors)

  • Hoyle, W. S., Bartha, M. C., Harper, C. A., & Peres, S. C.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • September 2013