It’s been almost two years since I picked up a new keyboard and started to learn Dvorak. Looking back, was it worth the time and effort? Did it mess up my QWERTY skills? And which layout do I use today? That’s some of the questions I’m going to answer in this post.
First of all, what is Dvorak? Since you read this post, I’m sure you already know a little bit about it – for example, that it’s a keyboard layout developed by August Dvorak and his brother-in-law William Dealey. An example of the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout (United States version) looks like this:
The standard layout nowadays is QWERTY (although some countries use other layouts, such as AZERTY), named after the first six characters on the top row. If you use QWERTY, look down at your keyboard. Have you ever wondered why the keys are arranged in the way they are? It’s not very easy to find a pattern.
Sometimes one can hear that Dvorak was designed to be efficient, while QWERTY on the other hand was created to slow typists down. You could argue about the former, but the latter is just a common misunderstanding. If you want to learn why (and how) the two keyboard layouts were invented, and find out more about Dvorak in general, I highly recommend The Dvorak Zine.