Thursday, November 5, 2009
The Dvorak Keyboard
I use a different keyboard configuration than most people. It's called a Dvorak Keyboard.
Chances are pretty good if you're typing on an English language keyboard, you're using QWERTY. When QWERTY was invented, it was done with the intent to slow down your typing so you didn't jam up your typewriter. Years later, when typewriters, then computers no longer had to worry about jamming up from people typing too fast, this guy Dvorak came along and said it's ridiculous we still use QWERTY. When you step back and look at QWERTY, it's awkward and inefficient.
Dvorak invented his keyboard layout after years of studying the most commonly used letters in the English language and hand physiology. Thus, the Dvorak keyboard results in significantly faster typing, less hand fatigue, less instances of carpel tunnel syndrome, and less typos. In fact, most people type 93% faster when they switch from QWERTY. Also, its adjustable to best suit a right or left handed person. It's even better for those typing with only one hand.
Dvorak is much easier to learn than QWERTY. So, if you're worried about having to re-learn how to type, don't. You'll have Dvorak down in no time. When I switched, I was able to type quickly after only a few hours of practice.
If it's s great, why doesn't everyone use it? Well, it got some press when it was invented, but that was during the Great Depression, so few people were running out to buy a new typewriter. It's faded in and out of popularity since then, but as with most things, people like to stick with what they're comfortable with, rather than what's better for them.
Your computer already has the ability to switch to Dvorak. It's as easy as changing a simple setting. For your physical keyboard, I recommend making little stickers to stick over your QWERTY keys. Or you can buy them off eBay. When I first switched, I cut out little letters and taped them in the appropriate place. When I decided that Dvorak was here to stay, I bought a nicer set off eBay for like $2. That set matches my keyboard perfectly, so you can't even tell there are stickers there.
For more information about Dvorak and how to make the switch, check out:
The Dvorak Keyboard and You
The Dvorak Zine
Or just type Dvorak keyboard into Google, you'll get tons of sites.