Musings from Mars Banner Image
For Software Addicts: Yes!MaybeNah!
Mars Report:

KeyCue: Your [Intrusive] Keyboard-Shortcuts Assistant

Published March 3rd, 2007

KeyCue - Find, remember, and learn menu shortcuts

KeyCue Software Originally downloaded 6/10/06. Another year, another new version of software like KeyCue. I had indeed tried version 1.1, but didn’t find it useful enough to pay $15 for. Now I see the software has been rewritten in Cocoa, and it includes missing features like support for MenuMaster shortcuts, Services shortcuts, and more. So… down it comes for another try. What fun! KeyCue works as an unobtrusive assistant that you pop up in a floating window when you’d like to know what shortcuts are available to you. It knows the system shortcuts as well as those specific to your application context. Dismiss the window easily when you’re done.

Update 9/2/06 Well, I’ve had KeyCue loading as one of my login items for 3 months now, and I’m sorry to say I haven’t felt anything for it but irritation. Being sad about being irritated seems strange, but it’s simply because KeyCue really wants to be a friend to my workflow. Unfortunately, he’s the kind of friend who comes around way too often, pestering me to play when I just don’t feel like it. :-) And in all of these weeks, I haven’t felt the need to summon KeyCue to my aid, despite his persistent presence, reminding me that he wants to help. I increased the key-hold delay so KeyCue wouldn’t show up so often, but there are still times when I just lean on the Command key more than necessary while deep in thought. It’s at these moments that KeyCue arrives, distracting me from my current project and requiring attention. Unfortunately, there’s no option to simply summon KeyCue with a keyboard shortcut.

Pod Util Software

Then there’s the fact that when accidentally summoned, KeyCue just doesn’t improve my desktop’s ambiance in any meaningful way. In fact, the KeyCue window just looks overloaded and jumbled… fonts too big sometimes and too small another. Too many colors, too many styles—and I can’t figure out what each one represents. The design is just too “busy”, and the contrasts are too strong. Obviously, presenting all of this important information is a design challenge, but the current attempt falls short of the mark for me.

So, although KeyCue is ingenious, wants to please, and is chock-full of useful information, I have to put it away now.

Version as tested: 2.0.1

Update 3/3/07. Well, a new 3.0 version of KeyCue was recently released, and this is still a tool I’d dearly like to love, so I’m going to give it another shot. From the screenshot, it appears they’ve added some skinning capability to the tool, and hopefully addressed some of its earlier shortcomings as well.

Version as tested: 3.0.

  • Google
  • Slashdot
  • Technorati
  • blogmarks
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Mixx

Show Comments
Just Say No To Flash