Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 11th Nov 2007 15:52 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces This is the fifth article in a series on common usability and graphical user interface related terms [part I | part II | part III | part IV]. On the internet, and especially in forum discussions like we all have here on OSNews, it is almost certain that in any given discussion, someone will most likely bring up usability and GUI related terms - things like spatial memory, widgets, consistency, Fitts' Law, and more. The aim of this series is to explain these terms, learn something about their origins, and finally rate their importance in the field of usability and (graphical) user interface design. In part V, we focus on modes.
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RE: Mode of application
by JonathanBThompson on Sun 11th Nov 2007 23:19 UTC in reply to "Mode of application"
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What about CAPS LOCK key - there's only one key worse than it - I mean NUM LOCK key. I've recieved many calls about "I can't enter any numbers into Excel datasheet", hitting NumLock has resolved all these problems ;)

Other than the Capslock key difference mentioned above, this is yet another case where (at least with the new Mac keyboard I got with my computer) Apple has made a change: there's exactly one set of arrow keys, and no numlock key at all. Perhaps someone at Apple had too many bad experiences with such keyboards ;)

The one I miss because I've got my muscle memory setup for doing it efficiently is that on this keyboard, there's no Insert key, which, while it can be used by software for modal input mode switching between insert=overwrite and insert at cursor, using Control-Insert to copy and then Shift-Insert to paste is easier and less likely for me to make mistakes, and I've been using that a very long time. Instead, there's an "fn" key there which is a quasimodal key that goes with a lot of the function keys above to map them back into function keys, as opposed to media functions and other machine control functions. Of course, I promptly mapped things back to regular function keys without using fn, because I far more often use keyboard commands for various things than the mouse option, and it's no big deal for me to select fn for the various machine control/system-wide things.

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