Faster Numerical Entry

People enter numbers into computers all the time. Most keyboard even have two numeric pads, one on the right and one above the keys. It interesting to note that the number-pad has the opposite orientation then a telephone number pad but that’s a whole separate post.

I started thinking about numerical entry and if there is a way to make it faster. I started thinking that the current design offers a fairly uniform distribution of numbers. It’s just as easy to enter the number 102 as it is to enter 100, however in practice I would guess that the number 100 is entered far more often.

I came up with an alternative keyboard design that I believe would be much faster for entering a lot of numbers. This type of keyboard would best be suited for a physical calculator but it does seem to work for on-screen use as well.

The keys are arranged as follows:


The added keys for 100, 200, 300 etc make it really easy to enter units but what’s interesting is how the two sides can interact. The value that is shown as a result is equal to sum of the independent sides of the keyboard. For example if you click “1000” on the left and enter “5” “0” on the left you’ll have 1,050. If you enter “100” on the left and click “100” again it will add another 100 to your total giving you 200. If you want to enter “1500” you could either enter “1000” “500” or you could use the older slower method and do “1” “5” “0” “0”.

Some initial testing seems to show that this is faster for entering long sets of numbers.


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