Sticky Keys: Not Just for the Disabled Anymore
February 07, 2005
Although the accessibility feature sticky keys has been around since the dawn of modern operating systems (and quite possiblity before that), it wasn't until recently, when I was playing with one-handed typing, that I discovered their value. At first, I couldn't figure out how I would be able to type uppercase characters or combo commands using the one-handed typing. When I came across sticky keys, it all came into focus. The solution. Sequences.
What frustrates me, and probably the reason I didn't discover them earlier, is that they are always documented as a feature for disabled people who are unable to press two keys down at once. I have found that, in fact, they are so useful that I believe they should be considered a feature for all users. Many key combinations make you do finger acrobatics just to get all the keys down at once. Even those moves that don't require such stretching are much simpler when done in sequence.
Update: Thinking back to my grade-school days, I recalled an experiment that was done in which the proficiency of finger movement was observed when one finger was held fixed contrasted with finger movement of a free hand. The impaired speed is explained by the workings of the sympathetic nervous system. The nervous system is attempting to move the coorelated digit, but since it is restricted, it affects the performance of the intial movement.
Piano players and guitar players alike must combat this effect through training, which is apparently possible to overcome. Regardless, enabling independent key strokes for combination commands will almost always out perform typical counterpart.