Most people use the well-known QWERTY layout for their keyboard. Little do they know that this layout was meant to be slow and inefficent! It causes strain on the hands and can lead to Carpal tunnel syndrome.
Back when people still used type with typewriters, the typist would hit the keys too quickly and it would cause the typewriter to jam. The solution to this, was to slow down the typer, which is why the QWERTY system was invented. It spread out the most used letters, so touch-typing would be much more inefficient.
Meet Dvorak. In the 1930s, Dr. August Dvorak, a professor at University of Washington, created the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard. This keyboard is meant to work much more natural for your hands, and reduces the chance of getting any typing-related injuries.
As the wikipedia page notes:
Awkward strokes are undesirable because they slow down typing, increase typing errors, and increase finger strain. Hurdling is an awkward stroke requiring a single finger to jump directly from one row, over the home row to another row (e.g., typing “minimum” on the QWERTY keyboard). In the English language, there are about 1,200 words that require a hurdle on the QWERTY layout. In contrast, there are few words requiring a hurdle on the Dvorak layout and even fewer requiring a double hurdle.
I’m making the switch to Dvorak cold-turkey, that is, I’m no longer using QWERTY for anything. My typing speed went from about 100wpm to about 5. I’m curious to see how well this works out for me after a week of dvorak-only typing. I guess we’ll see.
For some more information on this layout, check out these links:
- Introducing the Dvorak Keyboard
- The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard: Forty Years of Frustration, by Robert Parkinson, 1972
NOTE: This is part of a series, check the next entry here!