General discussion


Why do we type this way?

By Tink! ·
I saw the following article and thought it was interesting. I remember when I learned to type on my brother's Apple IIe I tried learning the Dvorak method too - just for fun. I don't know if I could switch now after typing Qwerty method for so long.

Do you think Dvorak will ever be the standard?
What are the pros and cons?

Qwerty Query: Why Do We Still Type This Way?
By Dory Devlin
Mon May 22, 2006 12:40PM EDT

I went to our town's middle school last night to hear Willard Daggett, an education consultant, talk about the dismal job we are doing educating our kids for a global economy they will be hard-pressed to compete in. Big issues, but one small one caught my ear.

The Qwerty keyboard. We've been using it since the 1870s, when typewriter inventor C.L. Sholes moved letters around the keyboard so typewriter keys would stop jamming.

Well, we don't use typewriters anymore. Technology has caught up with human dexterity. Jamming keys are no longer a problem. And the gymnastics our fingers do on the Qwerty keyboard can exacerbate repetitive stress problems.

In the 1930s, Washington State University Professor August Dvorak came up with a more common-sense design that placed some of the most commonly typed letters, including vowels, on the home row. (Pictured above) A typist can type about 400 of the most common words in the English language on the Dvorak keyboard home row, compared with about 100 on the Qwerty keyboard home row.

"Why," Daggett asked, "aren't my grandchildren learning to type on a keyboard that is 28 percent faster and won't lead to carpal tunnel syndrome?"

He asks a good question. One, I have to admit, I have never given much thought since the Qwerty keyboard is all I've known. Anyone can change the keyboard layout to Dvorak settings in Windows. And many who are battling RSI (repetitive stress injuries) have done so. But, as this Forbes article suggests, isn't it time for a new universal keyboard design that can help speed typing without mangling a new generation of hands?

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Existing installed use base.

by deepsand In reply to Why do we type this way?

Consider, for starters, how many of us here alone began "keyboarding" decades ago on a QUERTY typewriter.

Now, extrapolate to the population as a whole.

Then, add a fudge factor for those who still use a typewriter rather than a computer & printer.

'Nuff said?

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Take a look at THIS WILD Child!!!.......

by btljooz In reply to Why do we type this way?
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keyboards are here to stay. how to use them better?

by artboy In reply to Why do we type this way?

Fact is, nothing is faster for text entry than the bulky old
keyboard. No matter how fast your thumbs go, you can't text on
your cell phone or PDA, or even MS's new pad (which is just a
tiny evolution of thumbpads, merely a refinement of a horrible
layout) even 1/4 as fast as you can type on a full keyboard. And
voice recognition, whenever it finally gets good, still won't be
good enough to oust the keyboard for several reasons.

One big reason is homophones. There, They're, their. Cereal,
serial. What's a program to do? So. Full-size keyboards are with
us to stay for some time.

Switching from Qwerty to the Dvorak keyboard layout in middle-
school keyboarding classes would improve typing speed and
accuracy, and reduce long-term RSI later, in the workplace. It
seems stupid that this hasn't occurred already, but this is
America, and I stopped being shocked by the stupid things we
do here long ago.

But there's something else we need to do. Change the keyboards
themselves. Several companies have tried to market "ergonomic"
keyboards in the past, with little success. These are supposed to
relieve hand stress by allowing the hands to rest naturally while
typing. Except none of them do that.

Look at the keyboard you're now using. It's low in the front by
the spacebar, higher in the back by the numbers and function
keys. and Probably there are little feet or tabs on the bottom to
FURTHER raise the top/back side, increasing the angle - in
exactly the wrong direction.

For typing speed and comfort, you need two things: 1) sit higher
(or lower the keyboard, in an under-the-desk keyboard tray) and
2) tilt the top of the keyboard DOWN, not up. Wrists should be
LOWER than the elbows, and the palms and fingers should angle
DOWN to the keys. If you rest your fingers on the keyboard, then
remove the keyboard, your hands should be a natural, relaxed,
comfortable position.

Nobody outside of a few offices does this, and it's yet another
stupid thing I'm no longer shocked by. Try it once. Feels great.
You can type fast, all day. Add the Dvorak layout in there, and
you're golden. No stress injuries, faster typing, fewer typos. Try

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