Parentheses format for button labels


Glyph Reader

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Most gamepads (e.g. Playstation controllers) don't have button letters/symbols that help you know where they're located (except for triggers R and L).  That's because you don't really think, "Let me hit the circle button to use this powerup", you get muscle memory after a few looks.  
Still to this day I can't automatically remember which way round square and circle are on a PS pad.  I can reason out that since the Japanese use O for yes and that must be in the Nintendo A-button position, on the right, but prompt me to press square on screen and I still have to look down at the pad.  Muscle memory works as you say, it's only QTE type things that mess me up, which perhaps is why I've not learned where square and circle are definitively, but on a pad with numbered or lettered buttons, I don't have to learn anything (other than whether it's Nintendo or SEGA layout).
I've been a Nintendo guy for most of my life, and I simply can't figure out the positioning correctly.  What I end up doing is instead of trying to recall the position of the characters, I just associate a command with a direction/position in my mind, avoiding the whole issue all together. 

Honestly, about the whole button vs key labelling thing; was this EVER an issue with the Pandora?  I never really noticed any outcry about it until it was brought up in this section of the forums a while back.  Maybe I'm just someone that can easily understand the difference between a key and a button, or I just can recall what a button does in a game. 

-Glyph Reader
 

Christoph.Krn

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Honestly, about the whole button vs key labelling thing; was this EVER an issue with the Pandora?
As far as I'm aware no scientific studies have been conducted about this. There have been a couple of anecdotal stories about problems with it though, over the past couple of years that I've been having an eye on this.
For more details about my stance regarding this aspect, consider the following link from the first post of this thread:

If you believe that this matter is not important enough to warrant Yet Another Buttons Thread, then please note that it is known to have caused some problems on the Pandora (Why?).
What I'm interested in finding out in this discussion here though is whether it would /hurt/ to put parentheses on the gaming buttons.
 
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comradekingu

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It couldnt possibly be more confusing, so yes, it is. But people adapt. Atleast they stop complaining.

I am accustomed to it, but it still grinds my gears.

Nowadays i only hear about it from people i show the pandora to. The discussion is probably due to it being considered for the pyra. It would be a grave mistake I think.

I dont see a benefit to going through the process of dealing with XBAY.
 

rygD

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What I'm interested in finding out in this discussion here though is whether it would /hurt/ to put parentheses on the gaming buttons.
Oh. Unless it will cost more for them to be added I doubt it. Since that is your goal I will skip the list of solutions I like better (that have already been discussed) and just say that if it will help some people I think it is worth a shot, and I am in favor of it.  Will it help some random user that has never bothered to RTFM or look here?
 

Christoph.Krn

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What I'm interested in finding out in this discussion here though is whether it would /hurt/ to put parentheses on the gaming buttons.
Oh. Unless it will cost more for them to be added I doubt it. Since that is your goal I will skip the list of solutions I like better (that have already been discussed) and just say that if it will help some people I think it is worth a shot, and I am in favor of it. [...]
Oh, no, I'm sorry, please do go ahead!
International communication... my apologies, I really should have known better not to phrase this this way. Please allow me to clarify, I didn't mean to imply that I don't want any discussion about potentially superior solutions. If that was the case somehow, I would have made it clear from the start. But I do want to hear alternative ideas, for the same reason that I would like to hear arguments against /my/ parentheses idea: to verify that this suggestion of mine is not improper.

Will it [the parentheses format, remark Christoph.Krn] help some random user that has never bothered to RTFM or look here?
Well, it could be another building brick towards better usability. Of course this one is not just directly about the end user, it's also about prominently suggesting a "standard" way of discerning the keys from the buttons in written communications and documentation (a way which "many" people are already utilizing, so one could argue that printing parentheses onto the buttons would be like closing a circle).
Also, never underestimate the "typical user". More likely than not, your "random user" is an intelligent individual. It's just that having several buttons/keys on a device that have the same label on them but do different things is not something that most people would normally anticipate in many situations, simply because it's usually pretty much unreasonable/unlikely for anyone to create such an environment in the first place.
 

comradekingu

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Putting ( ) will hurt the user, because if you bring up an object, the connotations are stronger to that object. It is easier to remember where something is if you say or see something related to it.

The user isnt used to XBAY, the user is used to ABXY or BAYX. Not even on the pandora is the user accustomed to XBAY used as XBAY.

Being specific about something that is vague is just a better way to drive miscommunication across. Be it one thing instead of the other.

All ABXY conventions are inherently flawed _and_ actively confusing.

Going with (one), especially (different one) makes the least sense for the small player that does what the others do.
 
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rygD

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What I'm interested in finding out in this discussion here though is whether it would /hurt/ to put parentheses on the gaming buttons.
Oh. Unless it will cost more for them to be added I doubt it. Since that is your goal I will skip the list of solutions I like better (that have already been discussed) and just say that if it will help some people I think it is worth a shot, and I am in favor of it. [...]
Oh, no, I'm sorry, please do go ahead!

International communication... my apologies, I really should have known better not to phrase this this way. Please allow me to clarify, I didn't mean to imply that I don't want any discussion about potentially superior solutions. If that was the case somehow, I would have made it clear from the start. But I do want to hear alternative ideas, for the same reason that I would like to hear arguments against /my/ parentheses idea: to verify that this suggestion of mine is not improper.
I think it will help some people, but remember that humans are lazy, and often don't pay attention to little details.  This is why I think parentheses will be less beneficial than using a different color plastic for each key ("press the purple button to jump" vs "press A to jump" vs "press (A) to jump")or some very distinct marking that is not like anything on the keyboard ("press heart to jump").  I think some of the people who will be confused by "press A"  will still be confused by "press (A)". 

While typing this I did find a solution that might help a little...  I like to believe that people aren't as simple as I think they are.  Would "press (a)" be less confusing than "press (A)"?  If keyboard markings are all caps maybe lower case can help make them different while still going with the parentheses and Button locations/markings as on the Pandora.  If you have two things that are different, or three if you add color, it should give enough signs in context in games and software that it means buttons, not keys.  That doesn't fix problems when speaking or typing unless everyone types "purple (a) button", which I would not.  "Press a button to jump", when written/said the lazy way, is not too different from what leads to situations like"Press any key" "Where's the any key?" 

It would probably be best to use the symbols that depict their default non-game functions as markings to avoid confusion in software, however that makes it slower or more difficult for discussions.

I would actually prefer the buttons be identical unmarked black or dark grey buttons since I already know what they will do most of the time.  This does not work for some games and for new users.  I say drop the legacy option for anything better in one way or another, although a color or simple common symbol seems best.

Maybe to help users make the delete key red.  They can remember "delete is red is bad" in places where it can be destructive.  For symbols/characters/letters if we stop trying to mimic something else we are more likely to get something that is less confusing.  If those symbols correspond to the keyboard function, even better.  Use a pentagon/home plate/house for home, the Five Fingered Hand of Eris (two arrows pointing at each other, or a line with an x in the middle: -x-) for insert, the "no" symbol (circle with slash through it) for delete, etc.  I wanted to say fire for Delete, but it might look too much like the Pyra logo.  Those symbols will be visually distinct, and are unlikely to be confusing when thinking about it, and the user can say "press the no symbol to exit" or "press delete".  You can use a hat or cap, and shoe for page up and page down or something, I guess.  I dunno.  I am just going around in circles with this.

I don't personally see a problem, but if you want to fix it you might as well start from scratch instead of trying to fix something that there is no reason to stick with.
 

comradekingu

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(The alternative is using purple, orange aaaaaand then you run out of unused colours.)

In matching colours with colours, the most used paradgimn is the snes one.      ABXY  >v<^  red yellow green blue

Fortunately that matches up with using Home/end vertically   (Green /  Red)

Putting a destructive (Delete) button on abxy with only the colour to distinguish it, spells misaster with a d.

(The alternative is doing symbols that are unique to each key, but that just looks ugly as a whole.)

Fortunately  home/end/pageUp/pagedown is really usable in a diamond cluster, and the alternative buttons are insert delete, and those are found in a vertical orientation on a real keyboard.
 
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levi

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On this tenkeyless laptop keyboard, insert and delete are next to each other horizontally on the top row - F buttons, Brk, Ins, Del.  But as I'm not a big user of those keys, it doesn't matter to me much, and I'm fine with them being vertical next to the button diamond on the Pyra.

Home and end are multiplexed on left and right, but again I don't use them (ctrl A/E in the terminal and 0 and $ in vi works for me).  Only PgUp/PgDn are in the right orientation on this keyboard!
 

rygD

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(The alternative is using purple, orange aaaaaand then you run out of unused colours.)

In matching colours with colours, the most used paradgimn is the snes one.      ABXY  >v<^  red yellow green blue

Fortunately that matches up with using Home/end vertically   (Green /  Red)

Putting a destructive (Delete) button on abxy with only the colour to distinguish it, spells misaster with a d.

(The alternative is doing symbols that are unique to each key, but that just looks ugly as a whole.)

Fortunately  home/end/pageUp/pagedown is really usable in a diamond cluster, and the alternative buttons are insert delete, and those are found in a vertical orientation on a real keyboard.
You may have missed where I mentioned not trying to mimic what is done on other systems.  If you use colours you don't need to use the same ones someone else used, or put them in the same place.  The only reason to do this is emulators, but past systems used the same or different colours on buttons in different positions.  Use pink, purple, orange, brown, grey, silver, gold, copper, clear, black, etc., or use different shades of the same 2 or 3 colours, sorta like the SNES in North America did with purple buttons, but using a light and dark grey and some others, I guess.  Maybe beige.  And silver and black (Pandora case colours).  You can also try to go for colours that are least likely to be a problem with colour blindness.  If doing colours didn't increase the button cost much I would ask ED to go for that option, preferably with colours not usually seen on other controllers.  If it will cost enough to make it a concern, or if he doesnt like that idea/look then markings become the primary way to identify a button.  

I kinda feel like we are putting way too much effort into this.  I really didn't even want to get involved in this.  Do we know what ED's plan is?  Has Christoph.Krn or anyone else done a mockup recently?  Maybe we can gather up the button symbol/marking/colour proposals again in one place and have him pick what he likes best and then try to fix any potential issues related to identifying and discussing those buttons when we know what he wants.  I have a feeling this was already voted on long ago.  If that is the case we need to look at what ED voted for since that is what we will probably get.

I suppose I should go reread the old threads and earlier posts in this one...

If we are going to go with capital letters in the Pandora layout with no colours then shapes can go around the letters.  Would it be difficult for people to implement this in games/software?  Maybe an upward pointing triangle for A, a downward one for Y, an X-Men logo for X and a square around B.  I wonder what the size of the tops of the little buttons will be, and how much space can be used for markings.

Since I didn't make it clear here, the delete button/key in my mind is the lower new little button.
 
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