The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Dvorak vs. QWERTY
The standard keyboard layout of QWERTY has been around since 1873, during a time where typewriters were being used. QWERTY was designed by Christopher Latham Sholes to slow down the typist in order to prevent jamming and encourages speed as typists must normally use both hands to type an assortment of keys, where the letters for words often involve using both hands.
The layout went through a series of changes before becoming the standard of: `1234567890-= QWERTYUIOP\ ASDFGHJKL;’ ZXCVBNM,./
It is quite a simple layout, isn’t it?
To beginners, it is not an easy keyboard layout to understand, but it is the standard and one that we often get used to. Most people resort to typing with two fingers while looking down at the keyboard.
To those who are more advanced, they learn to type with two hands and multiple fingers. The average typist usually averages around 40 to 50 words per minute.
To those who are at the expert level, have been typing for years, learned how to type the proper way through a class offered in school or programs to help them with full typing, they no longer have to even look at the keyboard, and often have it memorized. Typing without a light on at night would be completely normal to them. All they have to do is set their hands on the correct positions, usually ASDF and JKL; and they know where every other key is located. Those who have mastered the art of typing with the QWERTY layout can usually reach speeds of over 100 words per minute without error.
QWERTY remained unchallenged for over a half a century, with everyone universally accepting the keyboard layout, on both old typewriters, and modern computers, with every computer company adapting the standard. In 1936, however, it was challenged, by Dr. August Dvorak who patented the Dvorak keyboard layout with several slight variations in design. There are plenty of reasons to switch to the Dvorak keyboard layout from the QWERTY layout. The design has been collectively modified over the years to reduce errors, improve speed, and use less finger and hand motions to type on the keyboard, though some users say it is mostly about comfort, specifically ergonomics.
While the Dvorak keyboard has not become the standard keyboard for anyone nor any company, who are unwilling to adapt to it, there are plenty of programs and the major operating system that allow for its users to set up the keys how they see fit. Dvorak keyboards are available for purchase, but most standard keyboards can easily have their keys popped out and put in their proper places.
Dvorak keyboards are used by an increasing number of people, including Matt Mullenweg, lead developer of WordPress, Bram Cohen, inventor of BitTorrent, and Barbara Blackburn, world’s fastest typist.
Reasons for switching to Dvorak are mostly out of curiosity, as most people, especially those who have mastered QWERTY would not like the change, nor have to re-program the brain for relearning the entire typing process over again. Dvorak might be worth it if you are willing to have the patience and learn something new. After all, learning how to type on a keyboard, specifically the hand movements, which fingers are assigned to which keys, is like learning a new instrument.
Learning Dvorak may not help you in the real world, though it may prevent people from using your computer, and if you master a Dvorak, which is said to be slightly faster, but not by much. It is all a matter of personal preference, and if you feel like learning something new, you may want to aim to learn how to type using the Dvorak method.
There are plenty of websites and YouTube videos available to help you learn as quickly and efficiently as possible. Until you master it, however, you may want to keep it personal, and not use it in the workplace until you know you can type fast enough where it will not effect your work performance.
View the videos for more information on the Dvorak keyboard layout.
Why The Dvorak Keyboard Didn’t Take Over The World
123 Wpm On 10fastfingers With Dvorak Keyboard
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