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[Jian Weizhi's Works] What are we pursuing when we use Alice to arrange?

Hello everyone, I am a keyboard lover who can't drive fast. I am very happy to meet you again. This time I opened a new column "Jian Weizhi Zhu". This column is mainly to share some of my own thoughts and opinions on the keyboard. It will be too high, because it really takes time to settle, and it can be regarded as some traces left by me playing the keyboard.

Let’s get to the point, today I’m going to talk about Alice, a niche lineup that has sprung up a while ago.

FOFO shooting

Presumably, everyone is familiar with this keyboard. Spring’s keyboard has been “famous” this year. With its excellent feel performance, it has successfully broken through. All have been affected to a certain extent, and there have been many mass-produced Alice keyboards for players to choose from.

For example: akko Alice, Keychron Alice, FEKER Alice, etc.

SnVittarius filmed by akkoAlice

Feker Alice

The first time I saw Alice's keyboard was "weird". The resistance to deformation and the adherence to tradition, yes, I'm ashamed to say that as a customized player, I often look at it with traditional concepts. These novel products, but I think this is also the biggest significance of customization to me. I have the opportunity to try these new things, and I can also escape from the constraints of traditional and conservative concepts. What age are you still playing with traditional keyboards?

However, after nearly a year of use, my doubts about Alice's arrangement have not diminished but increased. What's so good about this arrangement? Why are so many players able to accept and use it?

Looking back, those labels "ergonomic keyboard", "cracked keyboard", and "unique aesthetic keyboard" that were once attached to it, which words are the most appropriate to describe this keyboard?

In order to find the answer, I started a long search journey, knocking on the Alice arrangement in my hand, and the answer seemed to be at my fingertips.

When we introduced the arrangement of Alice, what was the most impressive point?

Before discussing today's Alice arrangement, let's take a look at how Alice developed to what it is today, let the time go back to 2016

At this time, the EM7 is very close to the full body Alice, with a split and curved key layout.

When this post was issued at the time, the question that had been lingering on Alice's arrangement had already appeared-could he call it ergonomics? Is it really miraculous, or just a gimmick?

The following reply is from the original post

"with out the tenting of a split design. that layout is completely useless, and only barely improve ergonomics.”

"A split layout without a split design has little effect on ergonomics"

“Is there any actual research regarding the ergonomics of this design or did the designers just create something that looked kinda ergonomic?”

"Is this ergonomic layout actually researched? Or do designers just want to create something that looks like an ergonomic arrangement"

"Vertical Wrist angle makes all the difference in the world."

"The vertical wrist design makes it unique"

It can be seen that this arrangement has been controversial since its birth. Is there ergonomics? Is it ergonomic enough? How to answer these doubts, we will look down

shot from water

The time came to 2018. This keyboard was designed by yuktsi. At this time, tgr Alice can be called a complete Alice arrangement. The author of this keyboard said that the layout is based on the layout of the EM7, and the appearance has been drastically cut, the overall thickness has been reduced, and the lower edge has also been made into a shape that fits the arrangement, and the shape design follows the older Kustom. .

"I often see myself more of a keyboards collector hoarder than a maker/designer. There isn't really anything new or original with the Alice, but a high-quality board with good typing feel."

"I consider myself more of a keyboard collector than a producer or designer. There is nothing new or original about this keyboard, but I think it is a high-quality keyboard with a good typing experience"

In fact, from these words of the author, we can also understand his cognition of ALICE, a product based on the design of the predecessors, which is more in line with his own understanding.

Under the IC post of this keyboard, many netizens commented on it as "good-looking" compared to its ergonomic attributes.

This actually leads to another feature and highlight of Alice's arrangement - uniqueness.

I think this arrangement is good-looking. Compared with the general keyboard arrangement, it is more slender and more symmetrical, like a butterfly.

"Looking good" is a very subjective feeling, but there is no doubt that this keyboard is very unique.

Photo by Jinnnxxu

At the same time, this keyboard is completely open source, which also laid the foundation for the emergence of a large number of variants of the Alice configuration.

In the following years, Alice has actually been in a tepid state in China.

Shot from FOFO

Regarding the ow studio, there are constant controversies, but there is no doubt that Spring's keyboard has indeed ignited the trend of domestic Alice arrangement. In fact, before this, there have been studios that have been making Alice matching products, such as Lao Zhou's Lumos and lumos r2.

Photo by ozZ from Dingxi

Photographed by Brother FLAG

TFOE shooting

These products are all modified on the basis of TGRAlice, but they remain the same, and the general shape and characteristics have been finalized.

Regarding Spring, ow studio has a very clear positioning for this keyboard.

"A keyboard that is easy to use, fun to use, and can make people around you look up."

This sentence may be the initial mentality of most players when buying Alice configurations. It's also what I think players want when they buy this set.

Spring became popular, which was unexpected but reasonable. Because of the niche arrangement, at that time, many players’ mentality was to wait for a break to collect one for fun, but the price of this keyboard doubled at one time, becoming a “high Unreachable" keyboard. And this year, Alice's collections are springing up like bamboo shoots after rain, and a large number of them are produced, which can be called "abnormal" for an unconventional collection. Today, the arrangement of Alice is enough to be called the arrangement of "the public in the minority".

What are we after when we use the Alice arrangement?

The side glance here may be considered too one-sided by many people. After all, not everyone uses a keyboard to work, and even if they work, it may not necessarily bring Alice to the company. Yes, few people are willing to bring custom-made keyboards to the company for use, but "attracting attention" does not necessarily have to be realized offline at the moment. When communicating with friends, when sharing in the circle, in the media When uploading photos and videos on the platform. I think this sentence is also applicable to the customized market. Customization can make people look sideways, and the arrangement of Alice magnifies this effect. There is no need for "Hokkaido-style gravel sound" or a strong sense of design. The appearance, just this arrangement, is enough to focus attention.

Let's go back to the original EM7. At the beginning of the birth of this configuration, the discussion on whether it can be called ergonomics has always been intense.

What is the difference between the traditional TKL arrangement and the Alice arrangement?

Alice visually divides the board into two halves, with the keys extending out in a wingspan shape, above which the Alice keyboard layout moves some of the keys (mainly the letter block) to new positions where they can be more easily reached by the index finger bit, some variants also move other key bits. There is no doubt that the Alice arrangement is still based on the standard QWERTY layout, which is one of the reasons why some people think its so-called ergonomics are a gimmick.

Unfortunately, there are also some stubborn phenomena in the keyboard circle. Some people who hold the idea of ​​​​"pure-blood supremacy" gave Alice this keyboard the death penalty from the moment it was not a split keyboard. . But there will also be quarrels between split keyboard lovers and arrangement layout lovers, because the arrangement layout of many split keyboards that are split in half is also based on the standard QWERTY layout.

Regarding the ergonomic keyboard, I have searched a lot of articles. I don’t think any online soft articles, soft articles or extremely vague descriptions can provide effective help for this article.

At this time, I got the help of a friend who has been deeply involved in the field of ergonomic keyboards for many years - Dr. Wang from X-bows, and I am very grateful to him for taking time out of his busy schedule to give me some guidance on some of my doubts.

(The following conversations are for reference only, not absolute. The current ergonomics is still in a state of development. Please use your own needs as the highest standard when purchasing a keyboard)

Let's start with the core question first.

Why We Need Ergonomics - Because wrists feel tired and uncomfortable.

Judging from this sentence, how to maintain the body posture in a natural and non-compressed state is the core of solving the problem of typing discomfort.

One of the issues that has been debated in the field of keyboards is that of layout. In fact, from this point of view, the character layout is not a fundamental problem, but the arrangement form is the key point. Just like the relationship between the foundation and the house.

After knowing these few things about ergonomics, I also began to look for various ergonomic keyboards. Perhaps through these keyboards, I can get a glimpse of the tip of the iceberg of ergonomic keyboards.

It can be roughly divided into the following categories:

After consulting so many keyboards, and through screening and refining some information from online forums and purchase reviews, I gradually have a certain understanding of the key components of ergonomic keyboards.

My second question to Dr. Wang

I also agree with this very much. After consulting a large number of ergonomic keyboards, the well-received keyboards often have the key feature of "in-line".

Inline or in other words, the arrangement that is more in line with the shape of human fingers is a major focus of ergonomics, and the inverted V shape is also one of the core points. So besides in-line, what else can further protect our wrists?

The second point is the internal rotation problem, which is also a problem that cannot be solved by a simple arrangement of columns. In fact, there are already some solutions for the internal rotation problem on the office mouse, and they have been put into use.

Logitech Ergonomic Mouse

When used on the keyboard, the angle is raised, but it is best if the raised angle can be freely adjusted to a comfortable position, after all, thousands of people have thousands of hands.

So what about the arrangement of Alice?

After understanding this knowledge, look at this arrangement again, Clear the clouds and see the sun.

The answer is obvious.

In essence, they did not get rid of the unnatural finger gestures brought about by the traditional layout, but there is no doubt that they are more comfortable than the traditional TKL layout.

Ergonomics should not be divided into "professional/non-professional". User needs vary widely and cannot be generalized from point to point.

Dr. Wang's words awakened me. As a player and keyboard user, the core point is your own needs.

On this point, I also agree with Dr. Wang's opinion. The standard layout is a tradition left by history, and it will cost a lot to change it.

I think that Alice's arrangement is more realistic than his ergonomic name, or "Fingering Corrector". After using Alice's arrangement for half a year, my fingering is still not completely standard (the little finger is only responsible for the mod area buttons), But it helped me correct some problems that I usually don't find when typing, such as pressing G with my right hand. The fingering improvement brought about by using the Alice arrangement is real.

Of course, there is also a problem here, that is, whether the standard fingering mentioned above has practical application value. There are indeed constant debates on this point, and we still have to start with our personal needs. I personally think that standard fingering is beneficial in the current environment, so I need to learn and train my own fingering.

After researching a few different ergonomic keyboards, I think the Alice configuration still has some advantages that cannot be ignored.

The split distribution of the Alice arrangement allows more room for typing with fingers. Of course, the split keyboard will have more freedom in this regard, but the traditional Alice arrangement can already provide enough space for some users. Liberation can bring a more comfortable input experience.

The current popularity of Alice's lineup is inseparable from its low threshold and easy-to-use attributes.

This is also the fourth question I throw to Dr. Wang.

Compared with the unique keys required by most ergonomic keyboards, the Alice configuration additionally requires a B key and a short space. The selection of key caps can be diversified, low threshold, and can also be adapted to most customized keys. At the same time, even if it is a non-standard fingering, it is not difficult to get started. These two points make more players willing to try this configuration, and some manufacturers rarely appear in the mass production area to make this product.

In fact, based on the above points, the answer to whether you need a keyboard equipped with Alice is ready to come out.

I personally listed some characteristic points, if you meet some of them, then I think it is not a bad idea to buy a keyboard with Alice configuration

At the same time, I also listed some characteristic points that are not suitable for buying ALICE configurations

There are different treatment options according to the course and symptoms of the disease, and it is not appropriate to generalize in the medical field, as it will mislead the public.

Eliminate the cause of disease and generate immunity, that is, prevention. Reasonable design of the keyboard can eliminate the cause and prevent RSI. In fact, it has been confirmed from user feedback that for users who already have RSI symptoms, the X-BOWS keyboard is also effective in relieving symptoms and helping recovery.

Therefore, people who are in a state of strain, I personally think that they should not place their hopes on the ergonomic effect of Alice's configuration, but should go to the hospital for treatment, and use or customize a keyboard that is more suitable for their own hand conditions.

At the same time, it should be said that there is currently no medical data indicating that alice can reduce the strain and disease caused by long-term use of the keyboard.

The split layout of the Alice arrangement will cause the entire keyboard to take up more space than the traditional TKL layout. Even the common 65 arrangement, the length is already approaching 80.

There are few products with 100% layout in Alice configuration, most of them are based on 65%, and some can reach 80%, so it is not suitable for users who have strict requirements on the keypad area and other functional areas.

To get used to Alice, you need to be equipped with an Alice matching keyboard everywhere you type. Of course, Alice is relatively free in the choice of keyboards. There are also many mass-produced and cheap products to choose from, but there is no doubt that , which will add more or less additional burden.

I hope the above experience can help some players who are interested in Alice layout and ergonomic keyboard.

What are we after when we use the Alice arrangement?

For me, exploring this question is actually exploring my original intention of playing customization.

What am I looking for when I am playing custom?

It can be found that everyone uses Alice for different reasons, such as practicality, beauty, following the trend...

Just like this circle, you will never know what will become popular next, but there is no doubt that I hope that more players are willing to try these weird and novel things, whether you are playing with leeks or playing with concepts, if everything If you follow the rules, it will lose vitality and be too boring.

Finally, leave a preview image of the new X-Bows product as the end, and I am very grateful to these players who are willing to help an ordinary player.

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