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Devlin Electronics has delivered rugged public access keyboards for more than 30 years and has now decided to develop keyboards that are less rugged.

Devlin offers a range of rugged stainless-steel kiosk keyboards that are designed to meet the roughest of conditions.

These stainless-steel keyboards are vandal resistant, sealed to IP65 and feature short travel keys with over-travel protection preventing damage by heavy impact.

As a consequence of these rugged enhancements users face a compromised typing ‘feel’, while for installers there is a relatively high price per unit.

However, Devlin is challenging people to rethink their strategy when it comes to keyboard selection.

The company wants to see greater consideration paid to the conditions a keyboard will be placed into.

‘We want people to think about how rugged a keyboard really needs to be,’ said Martin Baker, Devlin Electronics managing director.

‘A good example would be if you plan to place an information kiosk within an indoor environment where a certain level of trust can be placed with users or where user activity is monitored to prevent vandalism.

‘In this situation you could opt for a less-rugged solution featuring full travel plastic keys instead of stainless steel.

‘This would give a more familiar feel to users and make data entry far easier – reducing cost and improving user experience,’ he added.

When Devlin was approached to undertake a roll out of keyboards for job centres in Scandinavia it followed this principle of applying the appropriate level of ruggedness rather than just opting for the most robust solution.

In this case, plastic keys were used rather than stainless steel, but the keys were designed to prevent them being pulled off the keyboard by mischievous users.

Devlin said that the result was a cost-effective solution that provided the right level of protection from careless users without compromising functionality.

‘The use of an appropriately ruggedised keyboard can be a vital benefit for users and installers,’ said Baker.

‘A user can benefit from a keyboard with a better feel meaning they can type at a greater speed and with fewer errors.

‘An installer will get a product at a lower cost than a fully ruggedised keyboard without compromising protection,’ he added.

Devlin Electronics

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