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Posted by: Bob Cozzi
Rogue Programmer
Cozzi Productions, Inc.
Chicagoland
Time to Modernize Function Key Names Fn=Exit, s-F9=Cmd Entry
has no ratings.
Published: 31 Mar 2014
Revised: 01 Apr 2014 - 1150 days ago
Last viewed on: 24 May 2017 (2909 views) 

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Time to Modernize Function Key Names Fn=Exit, s-F9=Cmd Entry Published by: Bob Cozzi on 31 Mar 2014 view comments(5)

Modernize Your App's Function Key Labels

I've grown tired of programmers using F18 to identify function key Shift+F6 or F13 being labeled F13 instead of Shift+F1.

It wasn't long ago I ran into a shop that still uses "Cmd3" style of Function key labelling instead of the "F3" standard. Its like visiting Eastern Europe and seeing all the kids wearing Mullette style haircuts--come on!

Most (all?) Users do not now, nor have they ever had a keyboard containing all 24 function keys as independent keys.

On the applications that I created that still have to be green screen, I use the word "Shift" followed by a plus sign, followed by the actual function key they are going to be pressing to make the task work.

F3=Exit  Shift+F6=Options  Shift+F9=Command Entry  F12=Cancel   

Now the Good/Bad News:

  • Really dumb Users can be trained to comprehend this labelling in about 1 second, while the others pick it up on their own.
  • The use of the word "SHIFT" while accurate, is proving to be a bit too verbose.

To resolve the "SHIFT+" issue, I've started using it only on screens with few command keys. (Yes I'm old enough to call them "Command Keys" instead of "Function Keys"). So when a screen uses say, F3, F12 and F18, I label them:

F3=Exit  F12=Cancel  shift+F6=Search

But on screens with several command keys, I use "s+F6" or "s-F6", for example:

F3=Exit  F12=Cancel  s+F6=Search

To me "s-F6" is cleaner on the screen, but users seem to comprehend "s+F6" more intuitively than "s-F6". That is, I've never had to explain "s+F6" whereas I've had to inform them that "s-F6" means "Shift F6".

So my plea to you today is this: Can we please move to this simplier and more accurate nomenclature for Command/Function Keys?

Remember, it doesn't matter if you were born before we landed on the Moon, most people using your software today where born after the Columbia Space Shuttle first took off and started working AFTER keyboards only had one row of "F Keys" and nobody has ever seen a keyboard with the old Cmd key where the ESC key is no located. Sure I have one in my basement, but I don't see them in businesses today.

 

 

 

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COMMENTS

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Posted by: clbirk
Premium member *
Comment on: Time to Modernize Function Key Names Fn=Exit, s-F9=Cmd Entry
Posted: 3 years 1 months 25 days 7 hours 38 minutes ago

I was going to argue with you, because some thin clients have 122 key keyboards with those "cmd" keys (13-24).  Some gui like processors that take the the green screen and "gui-ize" it (sort of), use the F16, etc. to know what to do).

And I was going to say it is more confusing to do the shift+F3 as you noted, UNTIL I realized that in most window apps they have like Alt+F3 or Ctrl+F5 or shift+F8 so you are correct.

Easiest method is simply to have a browser application. (grin)

 

chris

Posted by: Viking
Premium member *
CA
Comment on: Time to Modernize Function Key Names Fn=Exit, s-F9=Cmd Entry
Posted: 3 years 1 months 25 days 6 hours 5 minutes ago

I remember having that keyboard you posted a photo of and I loved it.  The feel and clicking of the keys was great.

smile

Posted by: clbirk
Premium member *
Comment on: Time to Modernize Function Key Names Fn=Exit, s-F9=Cmd Entry
Posted: 3 years 1 months 25 days 5 hours 56 minutes ago

I think the last ibm 5250 twinax terminal I had was a 5291 model 2. We moved over to IO Corp terminals which had very nice keyboards, etc. I think at one time, I had close to 250 terminals at various locations. I still have an older twinax machine running and those monitors are still running....

But yes, quite nice keyboards whether they be ibm's or io corp's.

 

c

 

Posted by: mrqueue
Premium member *
Comment on: Time to Modernize Function Key Names Fn=Exit, s-F9=Cmd Entry
Posted: 3 years 1 months 24 days 3 hours 59 minutes ago
Edited: Tue, 01 Apr, 2014 at 12:54:22 (1150 days ago)

Notwithstanding it being a moot point at this stage, but isn't consistency the most important thing? The population of users has been dumbed down to the point where they can't/don't read anyway--if they can't get a reaction via a mouse click, it's "HELP! My system is broke. Should I reboot?"

Posted by: Ringer
Premium member *
Comment on: Time to Modernize Function Key Names Fn=Exit, s-F9=Cmd Entry
Posted: 3 years 1 months 24 days 2 hours 7 minutes ago

I sometimes click on the F18 or whatever. No shift or math needed. Client Access does not recognize s+F6 as a hotspot (well, it does but as F6 not F18). And Citrix already has some of the F13-F24 reserved so if you for example, hit F15, it asks if you want to disconnect. Uh no. So click on F15 instead. For the browser interface, we all click on SUBMIT and other such "Go" buttons. I certainly make suggestions but the bottom line is the business side and the project managers determine the blueprint and we construct based on that blueprint. If they want s+F6, no problem.