When you’re creating a new product, adding a custom silicone rubber keypad helps to create an interface between the product and the user. It should be easy to navigate and simple to use. Sometimes it’s hard for the people who came up with the concept to create a product design that works well with a design for a silicone keypad. That’s where having an engineer’s expertise comes in. A reputable silicone keypad manufacturer will typically provide guidelines for basic mechanical and graphic design considerations. It makes more sense to consult with someone who is well-versed in the process before creating a silicone rubber keypad design that won’t work or isn’t easy to use.
During the design phase, there are several things to consider. When creating a silicone rubber keypad or component design, making it user-centric helps with its effectiveness and success on the market. Here are 5 to get you started.
1. Blending in or standing out – If the silicone rubber keypad is an important part of the product, you’ll want people to see it clearly and use it easily. Color and placement to make it blend in or stand out. Contrasting key colors against a neutral background will call attention to the function keys.
2. Using prototypes – Rapid prototype designs can provide more than just a visual display for trade shows, marketing pieces and concept presentations. Plan to use a rapid prototype before the final rubber keypads are manufactured to see what it will look like
3. Layout – Keep your silicone rubber keypad design simple and visible. Placement of each key function should make sense. For example, the most commonly used functions should be in a prominent and easy-to-reach place. Directional arrows, for example, should be clustered together and indicate the direction by their shape.
4. Ergonomics – Consider how long and how often they will be used. For products used sparingly in a medical setting, the ergonomic shape of the keypad is less critical than the ergonomic design of industrial control panels in the manufacturing industry.
5. Environment – If your product is going to brave the elements, it should be designed with just that in mind. Liquid silicone injection molding can be used to create a wrap-around design. A hand-held unit covered in a wrap-around design, for example, might resemble a case. Seamless, it can protect the product from liquid and dirt.
If you’re putting together a product that includes a silicone rubber keypad design, SiTECH has some additional graphic and mechanical design considerations in our application guide. Contact our office at (757) 887-8488 for a free estimate and same-day quote response on our manufacturing services.