Thursday, November 10, 2005

Time for Dvorak? (Industry-standard keyboards should be more intuitive!)

Enough already with the 100-year-old keyboard layout. It was designed to keep the first manual typewriters from jamming as fast touch-typists drilled away. Yes, all of us who've learned touch-typing have memorized it. Yes, computers are all programmed to use it. But the layout is non-sensical these days.

It's nearly impossible to find the letters you need in any/all of these cases:
* you haven't taken a touch-typing class
* you aren't a native English speaker (especially if you were used to a keyboard that utilized another language
* you're a kid who barely even knows the alphabet
* you can barely spell in English, especially if you're a kid and can't spell in another language either (go ahead - try to poke-type words like "cat", "dog", "and", "hello", and "name")

If we can learn touch-typing once, we can do it again! This needs to be *standardized* across the industry, so the keyboard is basically a transparent interface to all English-speaking users.

No, I don't have a Dvorak keyboard. No, I haven't gone and reprogrammed my keys and changed my key-caps around s.t. they're ABCDEFG across the top or ABC DEF GHI in columns... Am sticking with the basic no-frills industry standard model for the time being. Reason? Compatibility.

But I'd love to see an alphabetic key layout! Watching kids try to type their names is frustrating - a new generation stuck on the obsolete past :-< Make it standard, make it the only choice, and we'll manage.

Linking here to a page about the alternative Dvorak keyboard, which makes more sense than the current industry default - vowels and common consonants are across the middle row - although it still isn't alphabetic.

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