I think that there’s a lot to say about this. But maybe I’ll put it forward in a way that I think makes sense to me.
I’ve been on this whole keyboard tirade for the past few months. It’s slowing down now purely because I’m really maxing out my budget. I also only have one pair of hands, and that limits how much typing I can do in a day. This doesn’t mean that I’m not interested, but I’m just really slowing down to appreciate it a lot more.
So why type? What’s the deal with typing and this whole approach to it that I would pour in so much cash, and time, and effort, just to make letters appear on screen? Is there a point to it, other than just plain aesthetics?
For starters, being trained in design, I do not necessarily agree with the design choices that are presented by the majority of keyboard creators. Many use really standardized typefaces, and they sit blandly on the keycaps. Some do experiment, and they make you smile when you see the type face. One of these is Biip, and his keycap designs are always striking. They hold character.
Also that RGB, yes yes no? Or maybe no no yes? That bright bar of rainbow colored light just shooting into my eyes. I must admit it has definitely grown on me, rather than me abstaining from it. I used to turn it off immediately when the underglow would start. The stark brightness that just doesn’t make sense. What’s the design problem that they were trying to solve? That dark tables needed lighting? The Apple keyboards had shine through and that works for us great, I think? But there it is, just sitting there, glowing now on the very keyboard I am typing on.
So what’s the point? Hitting the keys on this chunky bulk, instead of the wireless light taps that we make on the modern keyboard attached to our laptops, or the bluetooth keyboards that are stuck magnetically to our tablet screens. What is the draw?
I would say preference is the draw. Preference is this word referring to the hot mess of “I’ll do me, you’ll do you”. Preference dictates that gaudy colors shooting out as you type is okay, because that’s what you like. That’s you doing you. Preference means that I don’t have to stick with the shine-through of the Apple Keyboards. Preference is what makes it work.
Preference pops up quite often in our lives. We have preferences in the way phones that we use. We have preferences in the colors and looks of the clothing that we put on. Preferences also lie between the choices of what kind of utensils, even though fine dining has its set rules. Preferences mean that for some of my meals, I would just like to have a cheese burger please. It means that for others, they would have a salad instead. This means to say that, in the way I am choosing to type, I am choosing to type based on the preference I have at the moment.
This choice is arbitrary. I would like to say it is not logical. There is no logic to why someone would choose one keyboard preference over another, the same way why we have no “logic” to what clothes we choose to wear. We might have programmed a routine, but to assign a general color to the public sounds completely ridiculous. I am choosing to type with a NovelKey Cream switch, because I can, and I choose to. I like the sound it makes today. I might not feel this way tomorrow, but we can work it out then. I like the options that I can have with mechanical keyboards, and the world just feels better a little bit.
Just like the expensive running shoes that I had bought to get me started on running, I feel the need to type a lot more when I have a nice keyboard beneath my fingertips. I feel the need to also be accurate, and to type really fast so that the noise of the clacks just ring into my ears. It just snaps so well.
I have other sounds to liken it to, like the sound of skateboarding on tiled floors. The sound of rain when it hits a piece of cloth. The sound of coffee beans grinding in a hand grinder. The sound of a hi hat in a drum beat. The sound of rhythm, the sound of a beat. But this beat just taps its way around and on your fingers. There’s no need for fidgeting; you’re already letting your fingers dance on an exciting dance floor.
Because of all that, my happy fingers would like to tell you, that this is why I type, and why I type on a mechanical keyboard.