So you’re in the market for a custom membrane keypad? Membrane keypads are used in a wide variety of applications, some of which include video game consoles, home appliances, automotive dashboards, calculators and remote controls just to name a few. Designing your own custom membrane keypad will give you near-limitless freedom to turn your vision into a reality. However, there are a few things to consider when designing a membrane keypad.
Membrane keypads function by registering the pressure of a user’s touch. When a user presses down on a key, the electrical contact on the key creates a direct connection with the underlying circuit, at which point the key press is registered. Membrane keypads operate with varying degrees of pressure sensitivity, however, which is why it’s important to choose the right pressure for your application. Some users prefer very minimal pressure, meaning key presses will register at the slightest touch, whereas others prefer heavier, stronger pressures. This is ultimately a personal preference, however, so don’t feel like you must choose one sensitivity level over the over.
Something else to consider when designing a membrane keypad is whether or not to include tactile feedback. Most membrane keypads are designed with little-to-no tactile feedback, meaning there’s no indication of when a key press is registered. By including some form of tactile feedback in your membrane keypad (e.g. vibration or sound), you can improve users’ accuracy while promoting a more positive experience.
Of course, you’ll also have to consider the size of your membrane keys. Think about the way in which the membrane keypad will be used and choose keys of the appropriate size for the respective application. If the keypad is being designed for mobile purposes, smaller keys is probably the right choice since it will lower the device’s overall size. But if you are building a membrane keypad to use in conjunction with a large machine, larger keys are recommended.
Keys should be spaced far enough on a membrane keypad that it doesn’t cause the operator to accidentally press the wrong keys. With that said, they also should also be close enough together so the operator isn’t forced to bend his or her fingers in unusual directions just to reach them.