Caps Lock - Now literally an unpressable button...

It's rare but fun when the title of this blog actually applies directly, without metaphor or an unreasonable stretch, to a design feature! But that seems to be the case here, as Jonathan Rentzsch has discovered and measured an "anti-caps-lock bias" built into the new iMac keyboards.

The quick story: the caps lock only engages with a quarter-second-long press, longer than accidental "brushes" would press it. However, it disengages with even the quickest flick. This jives with real usage scenarios, where it's easy to believe that with its prime placement and rare intended use, the caps lock is more frequently pressed accidentally than intentionally. So, a button makes itself unpressable - or less pressable - to save users from themselves. Not to mention saving the rest of us from the few remaining ALL-CAPS SHOUTING WRITERS THESE DAYS...

1 comment:

Danny said...

The caps-lock button should be smaller, it's currently one of the biggest buttons on the keyboard (only space, shift and return are bigger). A more useful button could then occupy the resultant gap.

As an aside, it's possible to change the behaviour of your caps-lock key is OS X:

"If you want to reassign the modifier keys on your keyboard (Control, Option, Command, and Caps Lock), click Modifier Keys. In the dialog that slides down, you can change which modifier is assigned to what key, or disable a key altogether. For example, if you keep hitting Caps Lock by accident and wind up typing in ALL CAPS, choose No Action from the Caps Lock Key pop-up menu. Click OK when finished."

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2490