I’ve always known the QWERTY keyboard layout (the one most computers use) is outdated, but I hadn’t realised how outdated. It was patented in 1868, 137 years ago! It was designed to slow typists down so as not to jam typewriters. It was designed to slow down 2 finger typists, never mind touch typists!
In 1936 August Dvorak (new window) patented the DVORAK keyboard layout. Recent research showed that the dvorak layout reduces finger movement by 42%. That means 42% less RSI, 42% less effort, and presumably, much faster typing. Apparently it takes about 100 hours to learn the DVORAK layout, which if you spend 8 hours a day on a computer, is only 3 weeks.
I’ve known about dvorak for a while, but I’ve always been hesitant to switch on the basis that it’s learning, and every keyboard you come across which is not your own will almost certainly be QWERTY. However, having spotted the Das Keyboard on Johan Terpstra’s blog (new window) it might be the way forward. You can flick back and forth in Windows, and use the same keyboard for both.
I feel a bit of purchasing coming on…