Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Have you ever wondered why number 5 on numeric keypads have a raised dot or bar on it?

You might have noticed that almost all devices with numeric keypads such as telephones, mobile handsets and remote controllers have a raised dot or a raised bar on number 5, but have you ever wondered why? It certainly has more meaning than just being part of the layout of the keypad/keyboard. In this article I will try to explain the purpose of this striking feature to the best of my knowledge.

You may not believe me but number 5 with a raised dot has been mainly designed to enable the blind users to dial the numbers easily by touching. On any numeric keypad, number 5 occupies the central position and locating it would make it easier for the user to find and dial the rest of the numbers. It serves as the home key from where all other numbers can be easily located. For instance, once we get our finger on the dotted number 5, we know that 2 is just above, 8 is just below, 7 is left down, 1 is left up, 3 is right up, 9 is right below, 4 is on the left, 6 is on the right and 0 is further below 8. So, it helps the blind users easily dial the numbers with the minimum movement of their hands.

Although it was initially said to be designed for blind users, it has also proved useful for sighted people because it enables them to dial the numbers without having to look at the keypad. It has proved even more helpful at night or in the dark. It is like letter F and J on a computer keyboard which have a raised bar to enable the user to type without having to physically look at the keyboard. . Just by placing the index fingers on letter F and J, we can easily reach out to all other alphabets from that central or home key line. So the concept is similar. This feature has really helped the so-called Touch Typists dial numbers or use a computer even without sight.

When I have said that this feature on devices with numeric keypads/keyboards is designed for persons with visual impairment, you might also wonder how it has been substituted on smart phones today because they do not have numeric keypads. But let me tell you that those devices with numeric keypads like old Nokia mobile handsets, telephones and remote controllers do not have a talking capability but the smart phones today such as IPhones and Samsung Galaxies do have the in-built voice that, when activated, talks to the user. So we the blind users can once again access the touch-screens with the help of the inbuilt voice feature which comes in any smart phone device by default. So advanced technology has made us as lucky as our sighted counterparts around the world today. I am really glad that those mobile phones and telephones which cannot talk have a raised dot or bar on number 5 and those do not have number 5 with a raised dot have the talking capability. What a perfect arrangement! We are very grateful to the innovations and great ideas of extraordinary souls in this world who have never forgotten us. It makes me feel great to know that there are many people out there who care so much about us and I wish if such blessings continue to bloom as we pass from one generation to another.


  1. I agree that the new technologies of telecommunications have improved drastically with special features to benefit all those with special needs. I had no idea about this special number 5 until you so kindly shared it here in your blog. Thank you.

    I agree that the voice recording device helps both the sighted and blind users to communicate without typing. These days the police in many countries would arrest drivers who drove and talked on the mobile at the same time as it could endanger the other lives if accidents happened as a result of phone distraction. However the drivers are allowed to record their voice and send out. Then they are allowed to retrieve the voice records that replied back and listen before replying so forth. All this process makes no difference to me as the drivers would still be distracted behind the wheels.

  2. Frankly speaking i didn't even notice that letters have a raised bars.Thank you for sharing Amrithji

  3. Thank u so much Dawa for your comment. I am glad to know that this was a new lesson for u... hahaha. Keep coming back...