I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and move over to using a Dvorak keyboard layout.
Everyone thinks I’m crazy doing this but there are some good sound reasons for it, notably that apparently it’s more comfortable. The traditional qwerty layout is actually far from optimal — it was not designed for either comfort or speed and it involves a good deal more finger travel than the DSK. People who successfully make the switch generally report that even if they don’t notice an increase in overall speed, they do find Dvorak to be both more comfortable and more accurate.
As you would expect, it feels quite awkward at present, since I’m fairly new to the game. Going from about 60-70 words per minute to about ten is a bit of a pain, but I’m slowly but surely picking up a bit of momentum as I persevere. It seems that a lot of people give up in frustration rather than sticking it out to the point at which they are good at it. Apparently if you keep going back to the qwerty layout while you are re-training, though, it really slows you down a lot, and this seems to be where most people fall over.
Switching is technically fairly easy as every operating system includes it as an option, and you can stick some labels on your keys with the new layout, as I have done. Unfortunately, Windows only provides you with Dvorak layouts for US English, which means no pound or euro symbols. For some strange reason, it seems to have escaped the attention of some Americans that 95% of the world’s population do not live in the U S of A. Evidently, some such Americans work at Microsoft. However, a UK layout is available for download here.
I’ll be blogging my progress and thoughts on the transition over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.