Small keyboards are nice in the way that you are moving the keys to your fingers, using layers, instead of moving your fingers to your keys. When writing on a full size board I didn’t like how I had to move my hand in order to reach the Esc key in Vim, sure you can remap it to, say, CapsLock, but the problem will continue with other keys. I downsized to a 60% board and really enjoyed it, although the travel distance still can feel long to, e.g., the standard backspace position. A, e.g., 40% keyboard solves these issues, however you will have to get comfortable using layers.
Layers are like a Shift key or Alt, allowing a key to have several functions. The QMK software allows you to program keyboards with a layout of your choice. The Miryoku keyboard layout is popular, and can be used for a variety of keyboards. However, not everyone like the home row modifiers, I for an instance do not, and use a more classic Corne layout with Colemak dhm.