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Software Enhancements

Recommended Software Enhancements:

For future use, I recommend the following enhancements to the Kindle's keyboard. In keeping with good user-interface design, the suggestions attempt to keep a  consistent usage of keys between different usage mode, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise.

* items are the ones I think would be extremely useful

A note on alt-shift commands:

With the current Kindle 2 keyboard, it is extremely difficult to press alt-shift anything. I strongly suggest that this key combination not be used. It if must be used, then only use it for infrequently accessed commands that you absolutely don't want to accidentally hit, like a system reset.

Active Always

*Alt-w: toggle wireless on/off
Alt-f: find. Stay consistent with the common software like Windows, Word, etc. which use ctrl-f to find things. Unfortunately, Alt-f is currently assigned to "skip forward to next audio track", so changing this would be confusing.

Whenever Menus are Popped Up

When menus are displayed, each item should be preceeded by a number, 1 through 0. Pressing that number will immediately execute the corresponding menu entry. This would vastly speed up operation of the Kindle. This must be unmodified number keys. Just 1.2.3..etc.

While Reading 

*Alt-del: delete the document currently being read and go back to home screen. This is handy for blogs, newspapers, etc. Same as pressing the 5-way to the left on the home screen.
*Alt-T: bring up the table of contents
 

While Web Browsing

alt-left: previous web page (like back button on most browsers). This is the same as the keyboard navigation on web browsers
alt-right: next web page. Same as desktop web browsers
alt-b: show bookmarks
shift-alt-b: bookmark page. This is one of those exceptions. You don't want to be accidentally bookmarking pages, so make it a little difficult.
 

Browser implementation

  • While displaying web pages, something has to be done about the display of colored fonts. They are often unreadable or nearly so. Perhaps they should forego the rendering of colors, just keep them dark and readable and give up on the shaded visual indicators of links.
  • Browser should cache the viewed page so that it doesn't have to reload if you change font size. This would also save Amazon on wireless data charges.
  • Font size selection should be previewed, just like when reading documents.
  • Font size selection needs to be rethought to match document viewing. Size 1 and 2 are unusable. Size 3 is good. Size 4 is unusably large. 
  • Keyboard shortcuts, where programmed into web pages need to be respected. Since most of us use the "mobile" versions of web pages on our Kindle that have numerical shortcuts, make the browser utilize these for effective browsing.

Using the 5-way controller

Whenever reading, or editing, pressing shift-<direction> should move the cursor in a big jump. I.e.

*shift-left: move to start of line
*shift-right: move to end of line
*shift-up: move to top of current page
*shift-down: move to bottom of current page
 

*Keyboard Entry: shifted keys

Shifted keys should match a standard keyboard layout:
shift-1: !
shift-2: @
shift-3: #
shift 4: $
shift 5: %
shift 6: ^
shift 7: &
shift 8: *
shift 9: (
shift 0: )
shift /: ?

Font Selection

There has been extensive discussion and griping on the web about the display of fonts. Some of this appears due to faulty screens while others refers to the anti-aliasing being too aggressive on small characters. All non-hardware complaints could be satisfied with the following software changes in the font selection "Aa" dialog box.

Font: Serif / Sans-serif 
The sans-serif font on the kindle is extremely sharp and easy to read, with no degradation due to anti-aliasing artifacts.

Font weight: Normal / Bold
Bolding a font, serif or sans serif, would ensure that at least one pixel in every line of the character was solid black, not an anti-aliased gray
.
Line spacing
Line spacing is associated with the display functions, selected on the Aa popup. Add an item on that page that allows one to fine tune the line spacing rather than hiding it with a difficult key combination.

Home Screen

delete - same as pressing the 5-way left
alt-delete (or shift-delete?): Delete the selected item without confirmation
alt-#:Add numbers by each of the "books" on the home screen. Then, allow alt-1..9 to immediately select any of those items.

Descriptions

Note: some suggestions proposed by others. They are credited with their Amazon username. Thanks for the inputs!

Where possible, I'm rolling in specific shortcuts into the above suggestions.


"bderoes'

BACK:  needs an un-BACK button, probably Alt-BACK.  For times when I've gone back one level too far, and really still want the search results, or the Book Description page, or whatever.

Samples:  I understand that you (Amazon) don't want to provide full functionality with samples (highlighting, comments, etc.), but I've felt a strong need for a bookmark.  With a sample, I want to skip around a bit to see what's happening.  If I get that urge while I've been reading the text, I have no way of keeping my place other than memorizing the location before I go.

Skipping around:  some how there needs to be a skimming feature, or a jump ahead/back feature, where you don't have to slog through every single page - for the times you ask "how long is the author going to beat on THIS idea?"  From reading the Kindle Forums, I see that K1 has such a feature.  Don't know why you eliminated it altogether for K2.  Maybe if I understood how much a "location" was, I could Go To Location ahead of where I am.  In reality, maybe I want an entirely new feature, that would find the next heading or extra spacing, or differently formatted text for me.  

Chapter stops, or "where am I, locally."  I suppose this is more a suggestion for publishers, but perhaps you can pass it along.  The most disconcerting thing about an ebook vs. a paper book is that I cannot easily check how much further until a logical break.  I tend to read until the end of a chapter or a section of some sort.  Knowing the current location number or % within the book doesn't satisfy that at all.  So I've decided to start a book by adding bookmarks at the beginning of each chapter, so that I have a visual reference along the location bar.  But that leads me to...

Navigation to bookmarks:  Why not let us skip to "next bookmark" with a right or left flick of the 5-way button?  You provided a skip to the next chapter using the 5-way in the Kindle 2 User Guide.  The New Yorker lets me skip around the articles with the 5-way.  Why not also for user-installed bookmarks?

Hot-keys:  need more of them!  One for every menu item, please.  Or at least "Go to Beginning," "Go to Location," and "My Notes & Marks."

Samples, part 2:  When I buy the book after reading the Sample, it would be awfully nice if the full book would download OVER the sample, and pick up the location where I left the sample.

[I guess the following is obsolete, since Bufo Calvin realized we can tag our books with code words, but I still would like an option to set aside the Sample books, which I've updated below. I haven't tried Bufo's suggestion yet, so I don't know how it sorts the results.]
Home:
Yes, we definitely need a better way to organize our books.  Especially with 1500 possible.  I would vote for Tags, which you could display where you currently show "Sample" and "New."  But give us the ability to sort by the Tag, and/or select by the Tag.  If I want stuff within the tag to be sorted, perhaps make me do that first.  So if I want to see my Mystery books by Author, I'd first sort by Author, then by Tag.  Or perhaps a search of Tag data only, so I only get the books with "Mystery" Tag (not every book with the word "mystery" somewhere in it.)  

I'd also like an option to hide or display Sample titles (I guess this is Samples, part3).  Just as you can display just Books or Periodicals or Personal Docs, relegate Samples to their own category.

 
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