Symmetric Ctrl keys that are easily reachable from home row makes a huge difference. I've moved '\' key to 'Insert' because I never use 'Insert' key (before that I'd configured Right Shift to insert '\' when it is not used as a modifier and insert '|' when I press both Shift keys at once but I couldn't set this up using Xmodmap so I went with a cross platform solution).
Also, it's worth noting that on OSX you can do this without any additional software. Just remap it in the keyboard settings.
i also needed a tool to remap some keys - i'm living in germany but i'm using a us-int. keyboard to have it easier on coding. but also i wanted to use german letters: äöü without holding aou pressed and then press the number i need in the overlay of special chars.
now i have it on alt+a/o/u
i used Ukelele (http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&...) for it - pretty easy tool, where you can create your complete own keyboard layout and set it up with your own icon and so on. And without less steps then explained in your todo list.
who might is interested in this us-german-layout (https://github.com/marvwhere/usgerman)
I actually find it more relevant on my mac than on my linux box, since Ctrl on the Mac is in a horrible position, and it opens up a whole world of new easy shortcuts that conflict with little else. Plus Ctrl-C and Ctrl-L (clear) on the terminal.
!! Delete the caps lock key
!! Make caps lock map to <esc>
keycode 0x42 = Escape
'setxkbmap -option caps:esc'
'setxkbmap -option ctrl:nocaps' (my preference)
'setxkbmap -option ctrl:swapcaps'