Tag Archives: interface

Keyboards: Dvorak

The layout of a QWERTY keyboard is a strange thing, I’ve always known that. Why have so many of the important keys not on the home row? Why force a single hand to type whole words like _million_ or _greatest_? I didn’t know the answer to this question but for some reason I spent most of this afternoon finding out. During my explorations I rediscovered the Dvorak keyboard layout, or DSK. My roommate Dave made the switch to Dvorak in college when he’d worked out how much faster he could type (all the world-record typists are Dvorak typists) but quickly abandoned it out of frustration that no other computers used the layout and he was often in and out of campus labs.

Well it turns out that the reason we are all using QWERTY instead of the clearly superior Dvorak is because the designing imperative back when the first typewriters were made was to *slow down* typists, trying to avoid key jams. Jared Diamond, the author of the seminal _Guns, Germs and Steel_, wrote a really insightful piece on the evolution of keyboard design in Discover magazine which you can find “here”:http://discovermagazine.com/1997/apr/thecurseofqwerty1099/.

I highly recommend the article and maybe even trying Dvorak out for yourself, I just switched myself and while slow at first I can see how this will be much better.