Hello, Papoose, thank you for accepting this interview with Shenzhen Geek Circle.

Thank you as well for your invitation.


Ever since it was released, C1000 has been one of the sources of controversy for the Geek Circle’s peripherals enthusiasts. I have compiled some questions, and of course, I have some thoughts of my own. So my questions will be relatively direct and pointed. Is that OK with you?

No problem.


Did it really require 1000 days to develop C1000?

This product was actually launched in 2012, and at that time, the esports market was not nearly as enormous, while the products also appeared as membrane keyboards. Later on, due to many factors, it was set aside for many years. It was not until 2016 that we started to work on this product again and develop it. In addition, during this time, the project was pushed back and delayed due to problems with technological and conceptual conflicts. So, as far as new product R&D is concerned, 1000 days is nothing special. It’s just that we are too obsessive-compulsive.


The trial production for the C1000 keyboard has already been completed, and we all know that you are an MIT-educated mechanical engineer. What was the turning point that inspired you to design such a strangely-designed keyboard?

I have mostly been involved with structural design, and when I took charge of the design for this keyboard, its appearance was even more strange. I was thinking of either not innovating or innovating by using the user experience as my source, so I spent a large amount of time on this task. We often say that we are designing a keyboard, and not a typewriter with a circuit board. We must rethink problems from the perspective of human-computer interaction.


So what was the original intention for designing this product?

Of course, it was to reduce the amount of horizontal table space occupied by a keyboard, move the rarely-used keys to the top, and to make some more space available for the mouse.

 

But the layout has been changed significantly, and the costs for educating consumers will be enormous because people will not necessarily understand that your layout has some unique advantages.

This is the price of innovation. As a young company, we have also spent a lot of time preparing to educate consumers. If it is only something that is made to cater to consumers’ basic demands, the cell phones we use would not have touchscreens.


I think that the strangest thing is why you have moved the arrow keys to the left side. It looks strange; Is it for left-handed people?

When it was designed, it was not intended for left-handed people; Don’t you think it is strange if the arrow keys are put on the right side?


I am not sure what you mean.

Of course, it is normal that the arrow keys are on the right side. The reason is simple: when keyboards with conventional layouts appeared, a mouse was not popular. As a result, in that situation, it was reasonable for the arrow keys to be positioned on the right because this makes it convenient to coordinate the right and left hands when operating the keyboard. But after graphical user interfaces and mice were born, problems emerged. We all know that in terms of human-computer interaction, there are three usage statuses. In terms of frequency, the highest usage is only operating the mouse, the next is the keyboard and mouse, and the last is only using the keyboard. In terms of the keyboard, the most frequent usage scenario is the keyboard and mouse. This is even more obvious in terms of gamers. Let’s refine this scenario once more: put your left index finger on the F key, but your right hand is operating the mouse and your right index finger is on the J key and repeatedly switching between them. This implies whether we should put the most frequently used function on the left, and makes it easier to quickly use a keyboard with a conventional layout.


Then what should I do if I am not used to having the arrow keys on the left side?

You can try this: when the arrow keys are on the right side, if you use your right hand to press these keys, you need to remove your right hand from the mouse, and if you use your left hand to press these keys, you need to move your hand from a long distance away, isn’t that correct? It is different if the arrow keys are on the left side. Not only that, we have added a blind spot on the arrow keys: If you move your left hand slightly downwards, you can easily find these keys without pressing the wrong one.

In addition, all of the arrow keys for gaming hardware are on the left side. This is actually indisputable, as people are naturally skilled at using their left hand to control directions. Of course, if you believe that this can be used for gaming, that is indeed very strange. Who would be stupid enough to use arrow keys to play FPS video games?


So that’s how it is. But there is a problem: While using the keyboard, although the up arrow key occupies the shift key’s position, these two keys are actually unrelated. But when I use Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V, it feels that the distance is further, more than half a key.

Yes, I must admit that this is because the arrow keys occupy space. Although you can still touch them, you still need some time to get used to them. But as for more convenient arrow keys, these seem extremely worthwhile.


Have you gotten used to these arrow keys?

Of course, this process is faster than you can imagine.


Does it take several months?

That’s too much of an exaggeration; I guess it took me about several hours.