Okay, so yesterday I talked about the history of the Dvorak keyboard layout. Today, I’m going to talk about the Dvorak keyboard layout. I’m going to start by talking about a few of the things from yesterday again, incase you forgot them. I mean, you did sleep since then. Or at least, I hope you sleep at night. I don’t want to know what you do if you’re not sleeping.
When Dvorak first invented his keyboard and trained people to use it, they started winning typing competitions, and were banned for a time for “cheating”. They were that much faster. They continue to win competitions legally today. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that they have won more typing awards for speed and accuracy than all of the QWERTY typists combined. Also, the fastest typist in the world, Barbara Blackburn, setter of world records, used Dvorak.
The US navy did a study, and found it would take less than three months to regain the costs of buying all new typewriters, retraining all of their staff, and losing the time spent retraining. All because of how much faster their typists would be on Dvorak. There is only one reason this did not happen. One person high up in the government didn’t like Dvorak, personally. So he nixed all of the funding, and it never happened.
On the Dvorak keyboard, when you’re typing normal English stuff, about 70% of your keystrokes will be on the home row. On QWERTY, that number is 32%! Less than 1/3, on the row where it’s easiest to type! It’s outrageously bad. Overall, when using Dvorak, your fingers move 37% less than they do on a QWERTY keyboard.
That can make a big difference. If you have Carpal Tunnel, or other repetitive strain injuries, Dvorak will help lessen the effect of those injuries, and if you don’t, it will greatly decrease your risk of getting them.
Convinced yet? What’s that I hear? You’re afraid that you won’t be able to switch over, because you have to use multiple keyboards? Well, for one, it’s easy to switch the other keyboards, and then put them back to being backwards for others to use. I’ll talk about the process of switching tomorrow. Also, you won’t forget how to type QWERTY. I have suffered using it on essays in the testing center, where the computers are locked down and you can’t do anything to them. I can still do it. It’s painful, and I’m aware of how much more my fingers are having to move all the time. But I can still do it. Just because I learned how to speak Spanish, and spent three weeks in Spain speaking it, I didn’t forget how to speak English. If absolutely necessary, you can be assured that you can be fluent in both.
I’ll talk tomorrow about how to switch your keyboard. It’s easy. 🙂