Sunday, January 6, 2008

Adopting a new keyboard layout?

Is it worth it?
A couple days ago, I was reading some previous Lifehacker posts, and came across this site: which is a Web2.0, fancy typing trainer. I tested myself on the plain ol' QWERTY keyboard and realized that I don't type properly, but still can maintain about 40 wpm. I used to be able to type much faster, but my accuracy has gone downhill lately.
Being the obsessive type person that I am about tech, I had to check out the site's other options...and then discovered "Dvorak Layout". After a little research, and some settings changes on my laptop, I was thrown into a whole new learning experience.
So far, I've been practicing the home and "tab" rows of Dvorak's layout (you can see the layout in the snapshot, actually). I'm not giving up QWERTY entirely because of my need to share other computers occasionally. That said, though...I'm already up to 30wpm in Dvorak after only 3 days. (sure, still not using the bottom keys yet, but still) I gotta say, so far, I'm liking it alot, and really love that it's forcing me to learn to touch-type the right way.

Now, the educational question: If Dvorak was designed to be faster, more productive, and easier to learn, why aren't we teaching it in schools? Do technology classes even mention the alternative to the clunky standard? Our students use orange "skins" to cover up the letters, so what's the difference if they're learning QWERTY or Dvorak (aside from Dvorak being better?)

p.s. While this post was NOT written on the Dvorak layout, future ones will be, and I'll be keeping track of how my wpm count via

1 comment:

  1. Hi, welcome to the world of Dvorak!

    I think the answer to your question is actually a chicken'n egg one. Not enough using Dvorak making the demand for such keyboard low, causing high prices, which makes it less attractive to use Dvorak.

    The cheapest Dvorak keyboard I bought was $100. The Windows and Mac come with built in key map that lets you type Dvorak on a QWERTY but you life of a Dvorak typer is still quite inconvenience because it is QWERTY everywhere.