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Introducing Keyboard Shortcuts

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Carom aspires to be the indispensable, one-stop source of everything you need to know about your clients, customers, and prospects. If you use Carom every day—as we’re doing to run our business—little things add up. Small time savings, over and over, are material; minor annoyances become major headaches.

That’s why we’ve just implemented keyboard shortcuts.

If you look around at people who move quickly on their computers—think the airline ticket agent whose fingers never stop moving—they all rely on keyboard shortcuts. Once you’ve trained yourself, a keyboard is much faster than a mouse.

We’ve added about twenty different shortcuts, some available globally (like navigation) and others tied to specific records or views (like navigating search results or viewing individual records). Here’s the list of shortcuts we have in place today, which you can view within Carom at any point by typing a question mark (?) from our interface.

We tried to stick to a few tried-and-true principles in developing our shortcuts:

Adhere to existing standards

We’re trying not to reinvent the wheel. Whenever possible, your fingers should already know what to do. To navigate a list, for example, you can use the same shortcuts used by other popular web apps—j for down, k for up, enter to select.

Likewise, you can close any pop-up dialog box by typing escape, or you can view the full list of shortcuts at any time by typing ?. You probably could have guessed those—and that’s the point.

Develop coherent shortcut logic

Remembering shortcuts is a much easier when they follow a consistent, logical set of rules. For navigation between different parts of Carom—for instance, to go from the dashboard to the list of people or your deal dashboard—all shortcuts include the shift key. Some web apps, like Gmail, use g + another letter, but we think our approach is a bit more straightforward.

We use tabbed interfaces throughout Carom. Tabs are necessarily different from one record to the next, since some records have more associated information than others. So we make navigating between tabs consistent everywhere across Carom by using numerical shortcuts. To view the first tab on a page—whatever it might be—just type the number 1. For the second, enter 2, and so on.

Aim for exhaustive

We’re certainly not done: as we build new features and find important functionality not accessible via shortcuts, we’ll add more. But we’re aiming for a fairly comprehensive set of shortcuts, so that you can do almost anything without touching your mouse. For power users, that’s a necessity—keyboard shortcuts aren’t valuable unless you can use them consistently.