A designer that I greatly admire is Jacob Alexander from the Input Club. He is most well known for aesthetic innovations outside of the visual realm in the world of mechanical keyboards and input devices. The creation of the Halo, and Hako line of keyboard switches was one of the first examples of intentionally designed switch profiles, not just to make actuation obvious, but to make it pleasurable and ergonomic.
Figure 1: Hako True switch force profile as measured in experimental tests
What I really appreciate about Jacob Alexander’s work is that he was able to use his knowledge in mechanical engineering to create a keyboard switch design with more aesthetic appeal. Oftentimes aesthetics are largely associated with the visuals of a product more so than the user experience, but an intentionally designed user experience is a very important part of a desirable aesthetic. Seeing the way the switch’s force profile was created to feel like a high end switch and to protect the user from bottoming out the switch and putting extra strain on their fingers was a pivotal moment in my own input device designs. It highlighted, for me, the importance of the user experience from not only a mechanical perspective, but also an aesthetics and design perspective.
“The Pandaverse.” ThereminGoat’s Switches, www.theremingoat.com/blog/the-pandaverse. Accessed 1 Mar. 2023.
“Hako Mechanical Switches (Pre-Retooling).” Kono Store, kono.store/products/hako-mechanical-switches. Accessed 1 Mar. 2023.