6. Concept Keyboard

A concept keyboard is a flat board that contains a grid of buttons. Each button can be programmed to do whatever you want.

An overlay sheet with pictures or symbols is placed on the grid so that the user can tell what pressing on different areas will do.

Concept keyboards are used when fast input is needed and are ideally suited to selecting from a limited range of choices such as fast food restaurants. Checkout tills such as McDonalds use symbols to make ordering faster and easier. Primary schools often use them with young children. The overlay image could be a picture of a farmyard. Pressing on an animal would cause the computer to make the right animal noise.

Concept keyboards are particularly useful for people who would find using an ordinary keyboard difficult. It is also very handy in locations where an ordinary keyboard might be damaged e.g. by spillage or dust.


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  • Much faster for making non-text selections such as menu choices on the till of a fast-food outlet.
  • The keyboard is waterproof which can be useful where there is dirt or the risk of splashes
  • Poor for text or numeric input - although some keyboards do include a numeric keypad so the operator can enter the amount sold.
  • Limited to the options shown on the keyboard.