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Monday, October 11, 2004

Qwerty v Dvorak

  The keyboard is undoubtedly the most basic and essential form of input to a computer these days, so you would have thought that a decent amount of thought would have gone into its layout, wouldn't you? Well, you'd be sort of right - the Qwerty keyboard was thrown together so that common letters would be as far apart as possible, making it difficult to jam hammers on a typewriter, but that's about as far as it went. Comfort and speed were secondary issues at best.

  The jamming problem was soon no longer an issue, and a Mr August Dvorak produced the result of years of research into letter frequency and groupings in the English language - the Simplified Keyboard, later to be called simply "the Dvorak keyboard". Unfortunately, people were so used to Qwerty by this time that few switched. The Dvorak layout is far from forgotten, though, as a few individuals speak out against the vastly inferior yet bizarrely popular Qwerty layout.

  I finally gave up on the Qwerty layout on the 9th January 2002 in favour of Dvorak, and have most definitely never looked back. I can still type on Qwerty, of course, but do not enjoy it, and avoid it wherever possible. Dvorak is wonderfully easy to learn, contrary to popular belief, and new hardware is not necessary. A perfect and very sad example of clearly superior technology being pushed aside in favour of an alternative that people are more accustomed to.

Links:
   Marcus Brooks's website about Dvorak
   Wikipedia - The Simplified Keyboard

2 Comments:

  • I'm fed up of QWERTY too and i've been planning to switch to Dvorak Real Soon Now for quite some time.

    Mind you, it has to be said that Dvorak isn't /always/ the easiest layout to use: it's far easier to type QWERTY on QWERTY than it is to type Dvorak on Dvorak! :-)

    By Blogger Mark Rowan, at 11 October 2004 at 19:36  

  • What do you mean? Once you're able to touchtype on Dvorak, you won't need to look at the keyboard, so you won't be confused by the fact that the keyboard is labeled for Qwerty. The only downside of Dvorak I have found is that of shortcut keys being in different places. That's just an OS interface problem, though, and nothing intrisically wrong with Dvorak.

    By Blogger Paul Dann, at 13 October 2004 at 02:06  

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