Engineering Milestones and the Story Behind Action Keys

Engineering Milestones and the Story Behind Action Keys

Monogram Behind the Scenes

Product | 3 min read

We can't believe it's spring already! Our team has been hard at work for the past couple months since finishing up our Monogram Keyboard Kickstarter campaign. We've been doing user testing, refining our prototypes and taking in all the feedback we received to ensure we're delivering the best product possible.

Our engineering team has made great progress across all aspects of Monogram Keyboard and we wanted to share an inside look at what we've been working on the past couple months as well as some of the design thinking behind our new Action Keys.

Engineering Milestones

Electrical: The electrical design has gone from early prototypes to a version designed for mass production. Previous versions were designed with several smaller PCBs (printed circuit boards) which each had their own function. This modular approach made it easy to test and debug quickly. For mass production however, all of these subsystems have now been integrated into a single large PCB to minimize board-to-board connector issues, improve reliability, and simplify high volume assembly. Key electrical components have also been selected based on specifications and sourceability. Further design iterations will be done as we test reliability, typing feel, and acoustics.

Mechanical: Samples of the CNC-machined aluminum top plates were received and there are improvements to the surface finish still to be made. We're continuing the systems integration in lockstep with the electrical designs progress. Many design features will be borrowed from the Monogram Creative Console modules... except now in a much bigger package! We're also making adjustments based on user testing, and changes to improve DMF/DFA (design for manufacturability and assembly). And like the electrical design, the work is duplicated for Monogram Keyboard and Multipad, as both products are developed together.

Software, Monogram OS: In addition to recent updates to Monogram Creator for existing Creative Console users, the software team has been gradually implementing support for Monogram Keyboard and Multipad into the upcoming version of Monogram OS. There are lots of new aspects of the software that are being built on both the interface and backend infrastructure. We'll be sharing more in the near future so stay tuned!

Design of Action Keys

At Monogram, we don't just support your workflow; we evolve with it. The keyboard, a pivotal element in many professionals' workflows, served as our muse in designing the innovative Monogram Keyboard. Our journey began with a simple yet ambitious vision: to harmonize the versatile functionality of the Monogram Creative Console's modules with the foundational utility of a traditional keyboard.

In our pursuit of redefining workflow efficiency and speed, we didn't just design a keyboard; we envisioned a bridge to heightened creativity and seamless editing processes. Our focus centered on transforming the conventional keyboard into a powerhouse tool that enhances your workflow rather than just accommodating it.

A staple of modern keyboards, the function key row, has been reimagined in the Monogram Keyboard. We introduce the revolutionary Action Keys, replacing the traditional function keys, to unlock a realm of thousands of native actions directly through the Monogram Creator software. Action Keys simplify access to a wide breadth of native actions, giving you a productivity boost.

Our design journey was informed by extensive testing, where ergonomics, tactility, and discoverability emerged as the paramount considerations for a superior keyboard experience. Drawing inspiration from the Creative Console, we meticulously experimented with various layouts and configurations, leading us to an optimal typing posture and distance from the core keyboard area, ensuring comfort and efficiency are in perfect harmony.

Recognizing the dynamic nature of workflows, we innovated further by incorporating OLED Mini Displays alongside our Action Keys. This feature enhances discoverability by offering real-time visual feedback on the function of each key according to your current workflow. Each Action Key is a tactile mechanical key paired with Mini Displays, giving them an unparalleled balance of flexibility, tactility, and user-centric design.

We are excited to show you more behind the scenes while we build Monogram Keyboard and bring you along this journey with us! Join our mailing list to stay in the loop.