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Bad hotkey ergonomics

Using some awkward hotkey combos a few dozen times can cause you pain/discomfort.

So this is a fresh experience.

Yesterday evening I've put together the latest issue of the KBD magazine and now my left index finger joint is hurting.

I can trace this back to photo editing in Gimp (English) and only 2-3 awkward hotkey combos. (I tried to minimize mouse usage so other easy hotkeys could contribute to the reasons.)

Funny, but Gimp uses the initial characters as hotkeys and that changes from language to language. I've recently set the interface from Hungarian to English and that resulted in much worse hotkeys:

  • Create from clipboard: Ctrl+Shift+V
  • Cutting: Ctrl+C > mouse
  • Resizing: Alt+I > s > some numbers > Tab > Alt+S
  • Export: Ctrl+Shift+E
  • filename input (a number) + Enter
  • Close and confirm: Ctrl+W > Alt+D

While most of these hotkeys may seem OK on a classic layout, my modifiers on thumb keys made firing the Ctrl+Shift ones pretty bone-breaking. Ofc I could remap everything or use home mods, but that's not the point now.

What's more interesting is that I had only 25 entries in issue #16, thus 25 photos.

Just 25 x 2 -> 50 awkward hotkeys pressed in a few hours and I ended up with a sore joint.

Takeaway: take care, observe yourself, analyse your typing habits, update your hotkeys/keymap/workflow if necessary.

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