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Who Likes Scissor Switch Keyboards

While the gaming world loves the mechanical keyboards, many typists remain fans of the scissor switch.

Partly, this is due to typing style. Typers have, broadly, two different styles of typing: I call them bashers and tappers.

Bashers worry about the sound coming from the keys, and say that laptop or scissor switch keyboards are loud, and complain that laptop keyboards cause pain.  They may type with two fingers, as well.

Tappers complain that the generic silicone membrane keyboards that come with PCs slow them down and feel mushy. They generally touch type, and often know their typing speed, and complain that mechanical keyboards, excepting the older IBMs or similar keyboards, slow them down.

So, what’s going on here?

They have two different typing styles.  The tappers type by pressing down on the keys just enough to actuate the switch, but not far enough to hit the bottom plate. The bashers press down a little farther, and may hit the bottom plate.

So, tappers need some tactile feedback right where the switch actuates.

Scissor switch keyboards have a very short height, so the key travels only 1mm to 2.5mm after the silicone dome gives way, and allows the key to move.  The tactile feedback happens very close to the point of actuation.

So, a typist on a scissor switch keyboard feels the feedback, releases, and the key is usually actuated. They may bottom out at first, but over time, adapt and pull back sooner. Even if they continue to bottom out, the travels distance is pretty short, and I think that you bottom out with less pressure.

This particular way of typing was well known to IBM, when they created the Model F, the original IBM PC keyboard.

IBM was, at the time, known for the Selectric typewriter, and electrical typewriter that had a very heavy mechanism, but could be operated quickly by a typist who learned touch typing.  Touch typing was also known as “typing without looking”, but it was also something else – it was typing as fast as possible by not pressing the keys too far down.

Some tappers who like scissor switch keyboards also like mechanical keyboards that works like the old IBM Model F.  Later, IBM created a keyboard known as the Model M, which has a feel similar to the Model F, but has a silicone dome switch like contemporary keyboards.

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