This article is about switching to a smaller keyboard (with fewer keys), why you might want to, and how to reintroduce the functions of missing keys in a way that capitalises on your own muscle memory.
When talking about computer keyboards, there are two main ways to subdivide or categorise what’s available: layout, and size. While these are overlapping concepts, it’s easy enough to understand the differences by way of examples.
Layouts are, broadly speaking, how the keys are arranged — QWERTY being a popular layout for most people who’ll read this, whether in its US-style ANSI arrangement or the international ISO style instead. There are many more layouts, including AZERTY, DVORAK, COLEMAK, WORKMAN, and so on. These all intersect to varying degrees with the needed key layouts for languages other than English (such as JIS), creating a rich matrix of possibilities. It’s the other primary categorisation that I really want to talk about here, though; that of size.