Why do keyboards and keypads have nipples?

A STAFF REPORT FROM THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD

Dear Straight Dope:

Why do phones and numerous other numeric keypad activated devices have a miniature "nipple" on the number 5 key. On some computer keyboards, you can locate a similar feature. I figure it had something to do with sight-impaired folks who could better position their fingers once they feel the bump. Am I way off, or what?

Tech replies:

While helping the sight-impaired out is certainly a hell of a benefit of this, it’s not the primary reason. It’s to help people who aren’t even looking at the keypad “center” themselves while they fumble through the phone book, or labor at entering lines and lines of numeric data in a spreadsheet. Most computer keyboards have little bumps on the F and J keys for the same reason.

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

STAFF REPORTS ARE WRITTEN BY THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD, CECIL'S ONLINE AUXILIARY. THOUGH THE SDSAB DOES ITS BEST, THESE COLUMNS ARE EDITED BY ED ZOTTI, NOT CECIL, SO ACCURACYWISE YOU'D BETTER KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED.

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