QWERTY keyboard

  Graham ® 16:45 28 May 2004

I know the origins of the keyboard layout was to prevent mechanical parts colliding, but since that is no longer a consideration, is it not time to revert to an ABC layout? And would we find it easier to use?

  Diodorus Siculus 16:55 28 May 2004

And would we find it easier to use? Tests say no. The reason that the keyboard layout is such as it is lies in the fact that we rarely type words with letters which are adjacent to one another and this combination allows alternative hands / fingers be used.

So "tomorrows world" once informed me at least and it seems to make sense.

  MartinT-B 17:01 28 May 2004

I heard that there is an upper limit to speed using a querty KB.

However, attemps to change it have failed miserably. I too recall a TW programme in which they demonstrated a new inputting method based loosely on the method used by Court Recorders. It was roughly oval and fitted ergonomically into the palm of one hand and by pressing combinations of the 5 keys (under the thumb and fingers) much better speeds could be reached. It also had the advantage of freeing up one hand.

It never caught on.

  Fruit Bat 17:03 28 May 2004

Won't need one soon everthing will be voice activated.

Remember Scottie in the star trek film about the Whales?

  Shas 17:03 28 May 2004

That's the first time I've heard that reason for the QWERTY layout - although many moons ago, I'm sure we were told at college that it was something to do with it being easier for the brain to handle. Although it seemed completely alien then, and our first attempts at blind touch typing looked like a hitherto unknown foreign language, I really couldn't imagine it any other way now.

  €dstowe 17:08 28 May 2004

The QWERTY keyboard was designed for convenience of use, not anything to do with mechanics.

That is why foreign language keyboards have a different layout - because their frequency of usage of letters is different to English.

If you examine the convenience of having the layout as it is compared with conventional alphabet order you will appreciate this.

Of course, an alphabet layout may be better for hunt-and-peck typists but for speed and convenience, the current layout is hard to beat.


  Graham ® 17:10 28 May 2004
  Djohn 17:15 28 May 2004

the QWERTY layout was designed to prevent the mechanical arms of typewriter from locking if the typist went too fast.

The DVORÁK layout is much faster to learn and easier to use but it's similar to the Betamax/VHS issue in video machines it was too late and never caught on in a big way. You can buy these keyboards though and many people after the initial change do prefer them.

  Pesala 17:16 28 May 2004

Apparently was a lot to do with mechanics, but not to designed to slow down fast typists, just to separete common letter pairs like th: click here

I learnt the DVORAK keyboard once. It is definitely easier on the fingers when doing a lot of typing. It has caught on to some extent in the US, but is rather rare here. The most common letters used in English are on the middle row. I suspect the typing speed records for DVORAK would be about 5% faster than for QWERTY.

Give it a try. Control Panel, Keyboard Properties, United States (Dvorak).

  Belatucadrus 17:23 28 May 2004

BAT keyboards never will catch on in general use, but for specialised applications they're still available. click here

  blanco 17:24 28 May 2004

I seem to remember reading a few years ago that the Dvorak keyboard was subjected to a subsantive testing programme in (I think) the US Admiralty and it did prove to be much faster and much quicker for non typists to learn.
Experienced typists had more problems because of the imbedded knowledge the hands were used to.
The real reason for its failure to catch on was simply economic.
By this time all of American business was working with Qwerty and to scrap all typwriters and retrain every typist was just too much to comptemplate.
Seems logical.

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