Keyboard First

I enjoyed listening to Des and Paul’s discussion of keyboard-first apps on their podcast today. They discussed the rise of the cmd+K UI paradigm in apps like:

Slack calls it a quick switcher, Linear calls it a Feature Spotlight (after mac osx), Height calls it Height command.

I recently prototyped an Omnibox for Netlify:


I like this UI paradigm a lot. I think speed is only one factor of what it offers. It also offers “constant time execution”. In that whatever I want to do, I don’t have to remember or look up what the precise command is, I can just punch in Cmd+K, type in what I want, and hope that the omnibox has what you want.

They discussed:

  • the difference between tool time and task time. This is why the “Superhuman of blogging” probably won’t work.
  • focus on where speed improvement will be noticeable
  • We moved away from CLI (as well as chatbots) because of discoverability
  • is it just power users? what happens to IA (Information Architecture - organizing your app’s features in a menu and making them easy to find)?
  • Slack has a mix of tool and task time, bc chats are quick and multiple ongoing.
    • Slack’s IA is dead simple
    • Intercom has messages and inbox and submenus, its much more complex
  • Speed is probably a feature not a product - hard to pitch some software purely on how fast it is
  • You can be so workflow obssessed that you overserve yourself and have a smaller market because of too many peculiarities

Notes from future

Tagged in: #product #ideas

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