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27 Jun 2016

Design Tips for Membrane Keyboards

Design Tips for Membrane Keyboards

 

When you are lucky enough to be able to design a completely bespoke membrane keyboard for machinery, there are so many options. You’ll know what functions you need, but when it comes to the aesthetic design and tactile feel of the keypad you may get overwhelmed with choices. Here at Fascia Graphics we have helped organisations create a wide range of keyboards for many different applications, so can advise on every aspect of design from the material to backlighting options.

Having complete freedom at the design stage allows you to ensure the keypad meets your specific needs. With these tips you can get the most out of your custom membrane keyboard.

1. Choose the most appropriate material

Many membrane keypads have to withstand hostile conditions, with some requiring UV-resistant or anti-microbial materials. Make sure you understand the properties of the standard materials available for keyboards, including the finishes such as polyester and polycarbonate. As well as making the product suitable for its purpose, choosing the right material can increase its longevity.

2. Backlighting options

When choosing where to put backlighting into the membrane keypad, choose function over style. It may look great with symmetrical lighting patterns, but do those low function buttons really need to be lit? The role of backlighting is mainly to highlight important functions, or make sure they can be seen in dark environments. Consider this carefully before choosing a pretty pattern! You’ll also be able to choose a range of backlighting options such as illumination colours and shapes.

3. Tactile or non-tactile?

The next stage of the design element is where to include tactile response keys – if anywhere. You have the choice for every single function to have a tactile or non-tactile feedback. Tactile feedback of haptic feedback lets the user know through a small vibration that a button has been pressed. This is especially useful in membrane keyboards where most buttons aren’t sufficiently raised or domed, and over time can become difficult to press.

A person typing on an iPad

4. Embossing options

 Embossing is a popular choice for modern membrane keypads as it has a dual function. It can draw attention to certain buttons and make them easier to press, and also makes the keyboard more attractive. Choose from a number of embossing options: done, braille, pillow, rim and even braille. You can also choose a combination across the keypad.

If you’d like more advice or any questions answered about designing your membrane keyboard, just get in touch.

Image credits: Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons

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