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Which thumb?

I am curious about typing habits.

Poll #964659 Thumbedness

Which thumb do you use to hit the spacebar when typing?

Left thumb
Right thumb
Neither (please explain in comments)

If you're like me and always use the same thumb, it seems to me that the other half of the spacebar could ideally be used for some other purpose. Specifically, it could function as the "mouse button" in an eye-tracking mouse-replacement system. That would be neat.



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 11th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
I think I use both, but it's hard to be sure because it's like thinking about breathing - as soon as I do, it seems to change my habits. Typing this just now I seem to be using the right most of the time.

Alternate answer: neither, ever since I got my order from GUANGZHAO EMAIL PHARMACY CO. LTD.
Apr. 11th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
Meant to include in previous comment: but please DON'T cannibalize part of the space for something else! The stupid useless "Windows" and "menu" keys, and the resulting misplacement of "Alt", are bad enough for that already. Even if I could train myself to only hit the spacebar with one thumb, it's very nice to have a large target area so that I can hit it easily without moving my hand, as my hand moves to hit letters on different parts of the keyboard. Since the spacebar is used much more often than any letter, it makes sense for it to be allocated extra area. The large "Enter" key is good for the same reason, and cutting it down is not a feature.
Apr. 11th, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)
Sure, but if you are a one-thumb space-hitter, the other thumb is just hanging there uselessly while you type. There must be some way to make it useful, and (preferably) eliminate the mouse in the process. While reducing the size of the spacebar may not be a great idea, it's at least somewhere to start looking.

As for me, my right thumb only uses an area of the spacebar about as wide as two normal keys, leaving a good 60% of the spacebar's surface untouched. I was just curious if this was how other people's typing worked.
Apr. 12th, 2007 01:30 am (UTC)
That seems to perfectly describe my space bar style as well. There is this shiny little spot on the space bar from where my thumb has rubbed it clean. :P
Apr. 11th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
Hunh. I would have said right, but on experiment it's almost always left. I'm guessing the wide bar is like the second Shift key: lessens the need for left-handed keyboards.

A lot of typing habits are probably linked to having a hand-held mouse, though. My left hand tends to rest and move almost entirely from the wrist (little finger resting on shift, thumb on space), while my right tends to hover and move a lot more from the elbow (because at any minute it might have to go off and deal with the mouse, or fly off into the hinterland to hit backspace, or grab the coffee mug).
Apr. 11th, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
I thought I used my left until I actually typed and paid attention and found out I always use my right. Weird how that works.

The "right hand always moving back and forth" problem is exactly the thing I'm trying to address. The computer input interface is designed for people with three hands. I think there's gotta be a good way to correct that, but nobody seems to be coming up with a decent solution.
Apr. 11th, 2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
ok, that was remarkably tricky to figure out! It's so instinctive I had to type almost a page before I could tell what I was actually doing. I use my left hand 90% of the time, but it's a mix of my thumb and whatever finger is nearest -- usually one of the first two. I have a really weird typing style, but it is touch typing. and fast!
Apr. 11th, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
whoops, I meant 'my right hand'
Apr. 11th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
I use my index, right hand. I have a very weird sweeping typing system. Fast, but not really the conventional way. For instance, I mostly type with my left hand, depite being a righty and it's more up and down than side to side. w00t the weird.
Apr. 12th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC)
Remember those keyboards with the space bar split in half and the left half of the space bar was the backspace key? Didn't those suck?
Apr. 12th, 2007 10:39 am (UTC)
I don't actually remember those. Huh.
Apr. 12th, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
I think I like the idea of having a backspace key there, I almost always lose my finger placing when I have to reach up and hit it.
Apr. 12th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
I use my right thumb, because on a Kinesis, that's the only place where it is.
Apr. 12th, 2007 10:41 am (UTC)
Ah, yes, ergonomic keyboards. I've never actually used an ergokbd so it didn't even come to mind as I was writing this poll.
Apr. 12th, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
I always use my left. I really had no idea until I tried it. My right thumb just kind of hovers there not really doing anything useful. I tried to space with it and it just didn't feel right.
Apr. 13th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC)
Ryan, I saw your poll, so I tried to figure it out, and I couldn't do it! Just thinking about it totally messed up my typing! But it's my right thumb only, anyhow. I had to write an entire half a page of random thoughts before my sorted themselves out again. "Don't let your right thumb know what your left thumb is doing," right? Anyhow, my left thumb is withered and weak and undersized, and I couldn't even hit the spacebar with it if I tried. Must be the lack of use it gets.

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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