Let’s learn the Dvorak keyboard

In the last week, the subject of the Dvorak keyboard has come up more than usual. (‘Usual’ being not at all.) The Dvorak keyboard is an alternative to the widely-adopted QWERTY keyboard, and was patented in 1936 by Dr. August Dvorak and his brother-in-law, Dr. William Dealey. There are a couple of devotees among my coworkers at MakerSquare, and at some point in one of our discussions, I became inspired — how quickly could I pick it up? Or further, how long would it take to achieve at least half of my QWERTY speed? So I tested, to get my baseline, coming in at 120 WPM.

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Yesterday, I completed A Basic Course in Dvorak, and ended the day with 15 WPM in Dvorak.

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While it’s maddening to type so slowly, (writing this post is hilarious), my current plan is to struggle through using Dvorak 100% of the time until I reach 60 WPM (50% of my QWERTY speed) just to see how long it takes. Then, who knows, perhaps I’ll stick with it.

Generally Dvorak seems to be touted for providing an advantage in typing speed and reducing repetitive stress. After further searching, evidence for both claims seem to be inconclusive.  Anecdotally, people do seem to experience ergonomic benefits. That would certainly be a strong reason to stick with it. I do already find that I enjoy the placement of the home keys, despite not yet being very speedy. Regardless, it should be an interesting experiment!

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