Brainfood: Are you suffering from fat finger syndrome

It cost the Tokyo Stock Exchange £1.6 billion - and a few jobs - so all in all, it's a pretty serious condition. Fat Finger Syndrome (FFS) is a combination of dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADHD. It affects mostly the index finger. Symptoms include missing the critical key on the keyboard. Add a 'b' for 'billion' rather than 'm' for 'million' after the number 4, as a Bear Stearns banker once did, and you can see how the results might be catastrophic. Fat Finger Syndrome is not unique to the City, though: one media employee suffered a relapse of FFS when she pushed the 'reply to all' as opposed to just 'reply' to a sultry personal e-mail. Current treatment is to sack the offender, but typing lessons could be a solution, or asking for bigger keyboards, or simply hiring people who pay attention to the buttons they're pressing. The main offending key seems to be the '0' button: maybe a bell that rings every time it is pressed would gently remind the banker whether he wants to buy or sell, and whether it's thousands, millions or billions worth of stocks he had in mind.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor - helen@kirwantaylor.com
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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