Jim Westergren
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"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves." - Thomas A. Edison

Future of written communication and keyboards

Some days ago I figured about how the future keyboards will work.

Communication has to do with getting an idea across to another person.

While writing e-mails and using instant messaging the faster it goes the better. Actually I believe that e-mails in the future will be even more streamlined, like for example visible instantly on a part of the screen or something.

About my ideas how to make the writing faster I first want to give a story.

Some years ago I worked in an international organization in Denmark. The staff was from the whole world but mostly Europe. Italians, germans, hungarians, russians - you name it.

We had one staff coming from china that worked in the same departement like me for a short while. We spoke about the chinese language and how it works with the keyboards, I found it interesting.

You probably know that they have more than 5 thousand symbols when writing and on their keyboards it works like this that they first have to hit one key and then a menu will show up with a list of symbols for that key and then they hit a button to select it to get that symbol written on the screen. So you can imagine that a typewriter in china has to hit the double amount of keys than us.

Now, this chinese girl that I worked with had to send an e-mail to her mother.

We only had computers with some in-house produced DOS software for sending e-mails. So she could only type the english letters - so how can she communicate?

This was an interesting thing because both she and her mother knew chinese keyboards by heart and so the chinese girl could type her e-mail something like this:

AUD AHUD LAHA JEJ JDJ AJ AJFJ A CEJN JNJA JC JA FA JAC JANFAJF AJC ANF AF JAN JVN AJGH GJGH GNASN AFN AFNA G JA GN A JFA GG LUR GH LE HL AFH LJHA JAF ALJF H ALJEFH ALFJH FLJA HF AJFH ALJF AFJ LHSA GLJFH LJHF LJ.

And the mother could read it and understand what it said because in their mind they could both translate the keys to what they represent in the chinese keyboard system and which option fits the content of each key.

Fantastic I thougt.

Now my ideas some days ago was that the future keyboards like in maybe 5 years will be developed with a system that let you hit 2-3 keys at the same time and a phrase or section of a sentence appears on the screen.

For example the sentence: "Hi [name in db], how are you doing?" could appear by hitting D+F+G on the keyboard.

Now, imagine how many combinations that is with 2-3 hot keys.

Now take it even further. Imagine if this gets established by the majority and people learn it by heart. The typing would go maybe double as fast.

What will happen in maybe 5 years after this being established and learned?

Right. Why write "Hi [name in db], how are you doing?" when you can write DFG and everyone knows what it means?

So maybe in 1o years the e-mails will look something like this:

DFG KJR AK JRN SK TK SKR ITU SDK WKE GJS RKS TKJ RK SJK QKW FJT SKJ SKR TMF HRT K DNT.

And could represent the same amount of text as this blog post!

Comments appreciated, let's discuss :)

27 Nov 2005

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About the Author Jim Westergren Jim Westergren is a Swedish web entrepreneur. He is happily married and has two lovely children. Some of his interests are web development, SEO and writing. He is the Founder and owner of TodaysWeb offering SEO, web development and manages projects such as DomainStats and N.nu. Read his ..

Design, text and CMS (N.nu) by myself.