ISO 9241 Part 4: Keyboard requirements


ISO 9241-4:1998 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) -- Part 4: Keyboard requirements.


International Standard. Will be replaced by ISO 9241-400 subseries.

Lifecycle Phase

Build the context of use.

Type of Guidance


Application Area

  • Equipment
  • User testing


This part of ISO 9241 provides guidance on the design of keyboards for typical office tasks. The specifications cover the general design of the keyboard and the design of keys.  General design includes items such as: palm rests; the visible surfaces of the keytops; the slope of the keyboard and keyboard slope adjustment. The design of keys covers items such as: key layout; key displacement and force; keying feedback (such as kinaesthetic feedback); rebound action; key roll-over; key repeat function; key legends; cursor keys; numeric keypad; and keytop shape. The standard specifies the technical measurements that need to be taken to assess compliance, and includes a user performance test for manufacturers of novel keyboards (whose keyboard would otherwise not meet the standard) in an appendix. A second appendix contains a bibliography.


Manufacturers of keyboards and people that need to evaluate the quality of keyboards.

See Also

ISO 9241-5:1998 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) -- Part 5: Workstation layout and postural requirements.

ISO 9241-9:2000 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) -- Part 9: Requirements for non-keyboard input devices.

ISO/IEC 9995:1994 Information processing - Keyboard layouts for text and office systems.

Note: this page is a few editions behind the eBook and is out-of-date. For the very latest on ISO 9241 get the eBook version of ISO 9241 for Beginners.

Free newsletter

Over 7,000 people get our monthly newsletter. Sign up now and download your free guide to usability test moderation.

ISO 9241 for Beginners

Do you need a more up-to-date version of this guide? Do you need a version formatted for printing? Would you like a searchable version of this document on your own computer? Download the ISO 9241 eBook.

Our services

Let us help you create great customer experiences.

Get free email updates

Join our community of UX professionals who get their monthly fix of user experience insights from Userfocus and get free, exclusive access to our reports and eBooks.