AT&D #59. Commands and Shortcuts

What are the contributions or advantages of command menus, keyboard shortcuts and voice commands in relieving the burden of memorizing command formats?

Memorizing command formats shouldn’t be the norm when it comes to navigating technology. With that being said, having command menus, keyboard shortcuts and voice commands at one’s arsenal not only can help users avoid memorizing the format but also helps users work fluently within specific technology as a learned side skill or as a secondhand language where memory is more easier to maintain where necessary.

First and foremost, command menus (or simply menus) are a graphical control element within a computing interface that allows a user to enter into a list of selections (of commands and applications) which can be used as a place of visual memory (for example, the classic start menu of Windows’ OS which has the familiar drop-down lists of applications and tools for a user to choose from).

Keyboard shortcuts such as “control + c” and “control + v” are extremely helpful for users who primarily type as they substitute for pointing followed by clicking and then right-clicking to copy and paste text, among other commands. Not only is this quicker, but it is also less work to use command keys (which combine controls to form actions) over actions that only perform one control.

Lastly with voice commands, especially with the advent of Siri for the iPhone and its clones from other devices, they are increasingly becoming helpful and even are starting to substitute for typing in commands as they are performed vocally. Yes, sometimes there are bugs to fix and issues to be ironed out but utilizing commands by voice instead of by hand or hand gestures is a step up from memorizing shortcuts and taking the time to navigate through menus where applicable.

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