Suess, a 48-year old engineer who originally designed label makers, found that the typical 3-by-4 matrix of the cell phone could be substituted with a 5-by-6 matrix without changing the size of the cell phone casing. After two years of development, he came up with a 30+3 keys layout which easily can recognized by anybody who has typed on a regular computer keyboard and went into usability testing. “It is amazing to see, how fast people who have never worked on this keyboard before are able to type.” So far, he says he has tested about 40 people – each of those at least tripled their typing speed almost instantly.
The fact that each key is a lot smaller than on a regular cell phone is no concern for Suess. “I purchased about 50 different calculators and tried every single layout.” The result: “I you use the right shape, the right elevation and the right activation pressure, it is very easy to sue.” Current phones using a 3-by-4 matrix neglect usability and show “horrible ergonomics”, he said. “Buttons are on the same level as the rest of the surface. It simply does not work. Its torture.”
Source: Mobile9 (includes pictures of the new layout)