DVORAK keyboard layout or format was introduced and patented in 1936 by Dr. August Dvorak and William Dealey. They introduced the format as an alternative to the usual QWERTY format. The design of the Dvorak keyboard is to minimize typist fatigue, which became a common experience for the users of the QWERTY format keyboard. Dvorak Keyboard layout was designed to overcome the mechanical imperfections of the first keyboards including the QWERTY layout whose neighboring keypads tended to get stuck together when a keypad is struck.
The letters are arranged following certain observations and principles made by Dvorak that dwelled on the comfort of typing, the usual finger strokes when using the keyboard, and the proximity and location of the letters that are most commonly used. The arrangement of the characters, digits, function keys, system control, and formatting keys as compared with the QWERTY keyboard is the same. However, despite the advantages of the Dvorak keyboard layout, it remained little used. In fact, the QWERTY keyboard is a fine example of dominance of an outdated technology.
The benefits of Dvorak Keyboard layout
- Greater comfort and less muscle fatigue.
- For some who suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), an improvement in their condition or a cure.
- Often a decrease in typing errors.
- Superior typing speed.
Experience has shown that learning typing (typing at 10 fingers) on a Dvorak keyboard is significantly faster and less tedious (twice as fast as on a QWERTY keyboard).
There is nothing surprising to the advantage of comfort and the least fatigue, when we know the motivations underlying the two conceptions. For example, in the case of a blind typing practice, the 8 basic keys of the Dvorak keyboard are used at almost 60%, a figure that falls to 25% with a QWERTY keyboard. In other words, with a Dvorak keyboard, almost 60% of an English text is typed without having to move the fingers, against 25% only for a QWERTY. Readers who have a practice of typing know what the most common method of typing with ten fingers (without looking at the fingers) , In which the positioning of the fingers at rest is as follows:
- The thumbs on the spacebar
- 8 fingers on 8 basic keys (home keys in English) on the same line, that is to say, on a QWERTY keyboard, the keys ASDF and JKL; (On a QWERTY keyboard, the QSDF and JKLM keys).
Another interesting point of view is to consider the distance traveled by the fingers during the typing process: a Dvorak keyboard saves you almost half the way. Travel about 20 Km instead of 40 Km to type a whole romance!
You can switch keyboard layouts on your computer by changing your operating system’s keyboard layout setting, although the letters printed on your keyboard won’t match the new layout. You can also get keyboards designed for Dvorak on online stores. These keyboards have the appropriate keys printed on them, so they’re easier to use. However, they’re less common.