Learning a new program is always a challenge. There are so many new concepts and commands to learn. Most people typically learn and use around 20% of the functions that a program offers. As a result their projects conform to their limited skill set. The real power of the program and the outstanding results are left to others.
Software manufacturers try to overcome this problem by creating keyboard shortcuts to the most popular program functions. While this is helpful it does not solve the problem of the unused commands that are available. What would be helpful is a quick, easy and visual way to give access to the unused functions.
An overlay keyboard is one solution to this problem. Each key on an overlay keyboard can be configured to reproduce any sequence of keys available on a standard computer keyboard. A graphic overlay is then made to label the function that each key produces.
With an overlay keyboard new users have program functions available by pressing just one key. By configuring the overlay keyboard properly the software manufacture can introduce the new user to the little used but powerful features of their program. As a result new user will be more likely to experiment with these program features and be happier with the program.
Help features can easily be incorporated into the overlay keyboard. Each key on an overlay keyboard has a shift state associated with it. By configuring the shift state with the proper section of the help file new users can quickly find the help they require.
Experienced users will also benefit with quick access to the features they know and use. Instead of pressing multiple keys or mouse clicks features can be accessed by pressing one button.
The graphic overlay can be designed to use any button graphics that the program uses as the key label. This further integrates the overlay keyboard with the software as users can quickly find the key that is associated with the buttons they are use to clicking.
To view some configurations examples visit http://www.pmkidder.com/enterpad/page70.html and to learn more about overlay keyboards in general visit http://www.pmkidder.com/enterpad
Philip Kidder has worked with computers for over 35 years. He worked for the Defense Department as a programmer and system analyst. After leaving the government he has worked in computer sales owning his own store. Upon leaving the retail side he is currently a programmer and consultant to businesses. He also works with individuals helping them solve their computer problems. With his broad experience he truly joys is helping others solve their problems and make the computer less of a demon and more of a friend.
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