Is It On Or Off?

Quick! Out of the corner of your eye glance at this image and tell me if it’s on or off.

Shift Key 7.1

You had to think about it a second didn’t you? Now combine it with a keyboard of similar color keys. Again, only give this a split second, on or off?

Keyboard 7.1

I consider myself pretty good at technology but I keep getting this wrong. It’s a general rule with Apple that they have impeccable designs, but will always make at least one bizarre choice. In 7.1, its this key. There is now an entire website whose sole purpose is to remind us which is which.

As someone who works with less tech savvy users on a regular basis, this is a problem. New users were often confused before when they key turned blue. But at least once they got bright=caps (and blue=lock) into their minds, it clicked and made sense. Yes, people like me, and possibly you, will just go about our lives and only see this as a minor annoyance. But for a lot of people, having an unexpected thing happen with their technology can cause crippling fear, or resignation that they just will never understand. If you think these people don’t exist, exit the tech bubble and meet some regular people. There are a lot of them.

At this point I am just hoping that iOS 8 includes as a new feature something Android has (yeah, I said it), a keyboard that just shows you which case it is in. Why is the iOS keyboard always upper case? It isn’t a laptop. Steve Jobs said this when introducing the damn thing in the first place. A virtual keyboard can change as it is needed, while the other phones were stuck with a static keyboard. I don’t get it.

For the record:

Shift Key 7.1 Answer

Is It On Or Off? was last updated March 15th, 2014 by Michael Truskowski